Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Alchemist by Ben Jonson

I was especially looking forward to seeing Ben Jonson's The Alchemist after starting to read it. I knew it would be a bawdy and hilarious satire of society and the human condition. After seeing the lines "I fart at thee" and "What to do? Lick figs out at my..." I knew I would be in for a treat on the Blackfriars stage.

Basically, the plot of the play is a con game as Jeremy/Captain Face (Ben Curns in a standout performance), the butler of Lovewit (Rene Thornton, Jr.) teams up with a supposed conjurer/alchemist Subtle (John Harrell), and a prostitute Dol Common (played fantastically by Allison Glenzer) to dupe a collection of dimwits of various social standing. Lovewit leaves to escape the plague that is ravaging the area and Jeremy decides to take full advantage of his master's absence. Among the dimwits looking for a quick buck or some other vice is Denice Burbach as the lawyer's clerk Dapper, playing nerdy to the hilt; Miriam Donald Burrows playing the terrificly named Abel Drugger; the hilariously hypocritical duo of Chris Johnston & Bob Jones as the money-hungry & judgmental anabaptists Ananias and Tribulation Wholesome. But the hands down star of this collection of dupes is Greg Phelps as Sir Epicure Mammon. Mammon reminds me of a younger but equally heavy Sir John Falstaff. Phelps rendition of the Flight of the Conchords "It's Business Time" during the second interlude is a must see! Daniel Kennedy plays his grounded and sensible companion, Surly. Tyler Moss (reminding me of a young Merle Haggard thanks to his costume) and Sarah Fallon are wonderful as country bumpkins, with Sarah's Daisy Duke wearing, chewing gum chomping, eternally confused Dame Pliant the object of desire of the men in the cast. Of course, eventually everything breaks down and hilarity and back stabbing ensues.

Don't miss this hilarious take on greed and lust!
Allison Glenzer as Dol Common in The Alchemist. Photo by Tommy Thompson.

No comments: