The Misanthrope

24 February, Comedy Theatre, London

The one thing I enjoyed the most about this play was that it was in verse form. I’m one of those who have always liked poems that rhymed 🙂 The actor who best delivered the lines was Dominic Rowan who played the male protagonist’s best friend. However, it did detract from the play – I found myself constantly trying to guess the word which they would use to finish off the rhyme or wanting them to speed up and finish their sentences so that I could enjoy the ’roundness’ of what they were saying. 😛

The selling point of this show really, was that Keira Knightley played the female lead (she was kinda awful though, particularly her American accent). The guy lead Damian Lewis was absolutely brilliant though. I can’t make up my mind about using celebrities in plays. On one hand, it seems kinda shallow to go see plays just because a celebrity is in it (so casting a celebrity so that the show sells). But on the other hand, it’s a good thing – it brings people to the theatre. But then again, I guess it’s only really a problem when you cast a celebrity who can’t act…

I thought the adaptation was done quite well. The play was originally set in the 17th century, but this version set it in the modern day, with references back to the 17th century and the original writer. All the characters were somewhat familiar and recognizable to the modern person – the critic that could’ve been writing for the Guardian, the backstabbing journalist who had only her career in her interests…

Depressing though was the male protagonist’s character. He was cynical of contemporary culture, of people’s materialism and superficial obsessions. Him falling in love with Keira, who played the Hollywood movie actress and stood for everything he hated, dug him deeper and deeper into this hole that he couldn’t escape. How depressing would it be to live if you found no pleasure in life and absolutely despised the world and what it stands for? Hm… very.


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