REVIEW – The Marriage of Figaro, Lyceum Theatre

*****

The plotting and scheming of 18th century Spanish aristocracy are willingly dragged through the ages and into the present-day boardrooms of the Scottish financial sector in this sparkling and witty adaptation of Beaumarchais’ original by DC Jackson, directed by the Lyceum’s Mark Thomson.

Figaro (Mark Prendergast) and his bride-to-be Suzanne (Nicola Roy) are poised to clinch two major deals: a merger with a major financial institution run by Stuart Bowman’s predatory Chief and Briony McRoberts world-weary Chair; and their impending marriage, to be conducted as a civil ceremony on the office’s 7th floor after the board meeting.

Needless to say, the course of true love (and back-stabbing business deals) doesn’t run smooth: with both Figaro and Suzanne being the subject of unwanted attentions that threaten to scupper their futures. As the farcical elements of the production play out, an agenda of misunderstandings, schemes and subterfuge is followed, before any other business has an opportunity to unfold.

The Marriage of Figaro is an enjoyable and bawdy romp, perfectly set amidst the power and sex struggles of the corporate machine, well-realised by Alex Lowde’s satirically soulless sets. Prendergast is an effective lynchpin as the orphan who has pulled himself up by his braces, displaying strong comic timing – and an impressive singing voice during the nods to the operatic version of the original which take place during the scene changes.

Stuart Bowman excels as the lascivious leader, creating a topical cartoon portrait of a bete noire banker – his pelvis-thrusting efforts to clinch his own deal with Suzanne are hilarious to watch, and his lines drip heaviest with Jackson’s satirical jibes. Molly Innes as sex-starved PA Margery is also hugely enjoyable, with her hemline rising in ratio to her increasing but unreflected desire for Figaro as she chases him around the boardroom table. Jamie Quinn’s ‘hormonal deposit’ Pavlo also raises laughter as the office boy unable to keep his desires in check.

An enjoyable brew of satire, farce and sex comedy, The Marriage of Figaro is a comic highlight of the Lyceum’s 11/12 season: gleefully picking up the respectable boulder of the corporate world and taking mischievous delight in exposing the wriggling, lust-driven creatures scuttling underneath.

The Marriage of Figaro runs until 14 April. Ticket information is available on the Lyceum website.

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