Review: The Marriage of Figaro, Royal Lyceum

The performance of the strong cast ensures the play is a success
The performance of the strong cast ensures the play is a success
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“Financial services” and “sex” are not usually clauses that belong together.

****

DC Jackson’s superb adaptation of Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro manages not only to combine the two, but adds a lot of “hilarious” to the mix.

In a clever departure from the Lyceum’s usual programming style, Jackson has taken the 18th-century farce that inspired Mozart’s famous Marriage of Figaro and reset it in the world of golf, racist trustees and personal phone calls from the First Minister that is – apparently – Scottish finance.

Intern innuendo and other financial services smut are very catching – be warned – so expect to overhear many poor attempts to match Jackson’s verbal fireworks during the interval.

Figaro Ferguson, played with appropriately oozy charm by Mark Prendergast, is an orphan who has made it big in the financial sector by a combination of business and sexual acumen. Along with his wife, he is set to merge their start-up with a huge finance company, but the dishonourable intentions of various key players threaten to ruin the deal.

The cast are universally strong, but the army of interns and security guards deserve a special mention for somehow making the set changes a big part of the performance.

Molly Innes played Margery, the non-so-sexy secretary, with a conviction that, if she hadn’t been so funny, would have been scary. She’s even developed a way of standing which exudes sexual desperation.

Stuart Bowman plays the sleazy Chief at high voltage, working wonderfully with Briony McRoberts, the put-upon wife with a Chanel power-suit spin.

Playing the Overture to the Marriage of Figaro before the curtain rises feels like a bit of a tease, but the show delivers plenty of nods to the opera and even a few arias by Prendergast with a “we know this is random, but don’t you love it anyway?” shrug at the audience.

RBS is unlikely to withdraw its sponsorship of the Lyceum over this play. Although thematically heavy-handed, this version mostly lacks satirical edge.

Figaro is content to be a fun financial farce – and it works.

Run ends April 14.