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Review: The Miser at the Garrick Theatre

Molière’s classic comedy gets a sumptuous revival starring Griff Rhys Jones and comedian Lee Mack.

Director Sean Foley – last seen tackling classic farce The Painkiller as part of Kenneth Brannagh’s season at the Garrick – returns with a revival of another comedy for West End audiences, this time taking on 17th century French satire, The Miser.

The story revolves around elderly curmudgeon Harpagon (Griff Rhys Jones), who is trying to marry off both of his money-grabbing children at the same time he’s attempting to secure a beautiful bride for himself.

As you might expect from farcical theatre, things like mistaken identities, clandestine rendezvouses and family secrets all combine to provide hilarity and rip-roaring comedy – and there’s plenty here for audiences to sink their teeth into.

The Miser works largely because the cast are clearly having the time of their lives.

In between crumbling scenery, ridiculous accents and hilarious speech impediments, there are endless scenes of witty dialogue and punchy drama, which still feel strangely relevant despite being centuries old in origin.

Clearly, this is Rhys Jones’ vehicle, but he’s heartily supported by West End debutant Lee Mack as manservant (and sometime narrator) Master Jacques, Gavin & Stacey’s Mathew Horne and the captivating, seductive Andi Osho.

Special mention also has to go to Ryan Gage and Katy Wix as Harpagon’s children respectively, who just shine at every opportunity – and not just because of their ludicrously lurid outfits.

And while the comedy comes thick and fast – the denouement in particular is ridiculously gleeful in its delivery – there’s a real heart to this beast too.

While Harpagon suspects everyone is trying to steal his fortune, he goes to any length to protect his pennies; but his world is changed when his family’s feelings about his skinflint nature are finally revealed.

So, will it be the love for his money or for his children that wins out? Expect passion and purse-strings to go head-to-head in this perfectly poignant comedy which strikes the right balance between farce, drama and satire – and is well worth a look.

Tickets for The Miser are on sale now. Get yours via Ticketmaster.co.uk.