The autumn season at the Playhouse is gearing up to begin with the return of one of Capital of Culture year’s smash-hit productions: Tartuffe. Originally commissioned and presented by the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse in 2008 to huge critical and public acclaim, poet Roger McGough’s witty adaptation of the Molière classic comes back to the Playhouse from September 8 to 17.
Many of director Gemma Bodinetz’s original cast return, including Liverpool favourites Eithne Browne, Annabelle Dowler and Alan Stocks. Joseph Alessi is back as Orgon, as are Rebecca Lacey as Elmire and Emily Pithon as Mariane. The eponymous hero will be played by Colin Tierney, who was last at the Playhouse in 2007 in Our Country’s Good. Tierney has twice been directed by Bodinetz, at the Playhouse in The Lady of Leisure alongside Greg Hicks, and at the Everyman in Jonathan Harvey’s Guiding Star. Since then he has appeared as Horatio in Sheffield Crucible’s Hamlet and as John Lennon’s father in Sam Taylor-Wood’s Nowhere Boy.
Tartuffe is a beacon of piety and in the home of wealthy merchant Orgon he has his feet firmly under the table. But all is not as it seems and as Orgon becomes more enraptured with his new companion the whole city is chattering. Is he a friend, a fraud, a miracle or a hypocrite? The family smell a rat and amidst the frills and frivolity of 17th century society, they hatch a cunning plan to outwit the wily deceiver before he brings their house crashing down.
Roger McGough first appeared on stage at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1963 as a monk in John Osborne’s Luther directed by Bernard Hepton. His first play The Commission, directed by Peter James, was performed at the Everyman theatre in 1967. In 2009 McGough adapted his second Molière, The Hypochondriac, with Bodinetz again directing. Following a successful run at the Liverpool Playhouse it then toured nationally earning a TMA nomination for Best Touring Production.
The author of more than fifty books, McGough is an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University and an Honorary Professor at Thames Valley University, and has D.Litts from the universities of Liverpool, Hull and Roehampton. In 2001 he was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Liverpool, alongside fellow Mersey Poets Brian Patten and Adrian Henri, and in 2004 he was awarded a CBE for services to literature.
Director Gemma Bodinetz took up her post as artistic director for the Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse in September 2003. Since then, she has directed Macbeth, The Kindness of Strangers, The Mayor of Zalamea, Intemperance and Yellowman at the Everyman; and No Wise Men, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolfe?, The Lady of Leisure, All My Sons, Tartuffe, and The Hypochondriac at the Playhouse.