The Game of Love and Chance ★★★★ Arcola Theatre | Jul 14 - Aug 7, 2021


The Game of Love and Chance opens the Arcola's tremendous new outdoor space and comes up smart as paint. Pierre de Marivaux's play was first performed in 1730 and tells of a master and his driver who swap identities as do a lady and her maid; here things are transferred to modern London with more than a smack of 'Made in Chelsea'. The updating is very well handled by adapters and directors, Jack Gamble and Quentin Beroud. It is “an almost seamless updating of an eighteenth-century script.” True to the original's nod to Commedia dell'arte there are plenty of asides, but the production manages to make them feel natural. Pace is everything in this sort of farce and the company of six are spot on with their antics. Ammar Duffus and Michael Lyle as the master and his driver are great fun, but it is Beth Lilly as Lisette who is most successful at turning from maid to mistress; her entire demeanour is perfect. David Acton's father, who is in on the joke, is properly urbane and George Kemp is excellent as the 'nice but dim' Marius who's spray-on trousers almost take on a persona of their own at one point. However, it is Ellie Nunn as Sylvia, the mistress who appears to be in control and who wins in the end. Nunn handles her big speeches beautifully and commands the stage throughout. The finale is a riotous dance and we're sure that even the rather tetchy Marivaux would be smiling.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Alex Brenner.

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When, Where, Getting there:
  • Jul 14 - Aug 7, 2021
  • Mon & Wed - Sat: 7 pm
  • Thu & Sat: 3 pm, Jul 25 & Aug 1: 3pm
  • Arcola Theatre
  • Nearest station: Highbury & Islington
  • https://www.arcolatheatre.com

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