Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love, Royal Exchange, Manchester

Marivaux’s The Triumph of Love, Royal Exchange, ManchesterAll credit to Manchester Confidential; it looks like little more than a collection of ads, but scratch the surface and there’s some decent editorial. The offers are pretty good too, which is how we found ourselves sitting stage level at what is probably the country’s finest theatre space for just £5. That’s right, less than the price of cinema ticket.

This eighteenth century French farce is very Royal Exchange, but comes out all light and fluffy. Brigit Forsyth is excellent in her supporting role, but sadly it’s a tad too challenging for Rae Hendrie as this is a play that expects rather a lot of its lead.

The plot is simple enough. Princess Leonida has inherited the kingdom thanks to the evil machinations of her immediate forebears while Prince Agis, who also has claim, lives in hiding with the great philosopher Hermocrates. Leonida is expected to hunt down and execute Agis, but has other ideas; she’s in love with him. And so she infiltrates Hermocrates household as an eager male student and, in one guise or another, seduces all before revealing her true identity and disappearing into the sunset to rule peacefully as Agis’ queen. Ah.

Sadly, as the Guardian’s Alfred Hickling points out, it’s all too frantic (as farce must be) for Hendrie who is simply overwhelmed by the frequent gender switches… it all gets a bit hammy.

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