Four hundred years haven’t dulled the comic edge or the timeliness of this little-known gem of Molière’s. Director Heather Chesley has done a crafty job of fine-tuning the shtick and physical comedy, emphasizing the supple wordplay of Richard Wilbur’s sparkling translation.
The plot concerns lovers Henriette and Clitandre (Tannis Hanson, Thomas Chavira), whose desired nuptials shake the rafters of hearth and home. Henriette lives in a world of mammoth intellectual pretension and class snobbery fostered by her controlling mother, Philamente (Lori Berg), an aunt, Belise (Rhonda Kohl), and a sister, Armande (Rory Patterson). These “learned ladies” have a panting admiration for scholar, poet and scoundrel Trissotin (Stephen Van Dorn), whom they insist Henriette marry. But Henriette’s boneless suckling of a father, Chrysale (William Bower), wants to stand up to his insufferably domineering wife and say that Henriette should wed the man of her choosing. Toss in some competition from another pompous, educated suitor, Vadius (Michael Dye), and you have the makings for a load of laughs.
This show soars on delightful cast performances, but it also boasts complementary production elements. Mark Svastics’ beautiful latticework set, Krys Fehervari’s hair and makeup design and Vicki Conrad’s extravagant costumes are tantalizing eye candy.

Fridays, Saturdays, 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2:30 p.m. Starts: May 11. Continues through June 17, 2012

LA Weekly