THE Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary at Liverpool’s Everyman theatre had my friend confused. You see, he’d read the book and thought he knew what he was getting – oh no. This hilarious adaptation by John Nicholson and Javier Marzan and directed by Everyman Artistic Director (Madame) Gemma Bodinetz takes more liberties than you can shake a fake rat at.
Yes, it’s silly but fabulously so. Nicholson and Marzan join Emma Fielding and Jonathan Holmes in playing a multitude of roles and they all even play themselves. This is a difficult play to review because I really don’t want to spoil it. It’s full of wonderful surprises and laugh-out-loud moments.
The set is ingenious and fulfils multiple functions with the help of a little chalk – who needs actual props when you can draw them?
I’d heard from the previews that it was a very long production but by press night the play had been honed to perfection. The first half of 90 minutes flew over and the second, at just an hour, also sped along – see, I want to tell you what happens at the beginning of the second half but I can’t!
Anyway, all of the performances are superb, the actors’ timing is impeccable and I thoroughly recommend it.
The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary is at the Everyman until 27 Feb.
Review by Andy Green