‘The Game of Love and Chance’ at the Arcola Outside

The Game of Love and Chance. Arcola Theatre 14 July – 7 August 2021. David Acton, Ammar Duffus, George Kemp, Beth Lilly, Michael Lyle and Ellie Nunn pictured.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This brand new English version of Pierre de Marivaux’s classic comedy, adapted by Quentin Beroud and Jack Gamble, takes great delight in modernising this almost 300 year-old French play. There is a knowingness to the adaptation that adds yet more comic layers to the wonderfully silly piece.

Ellie Nunn is a fun and engaging Lady Silvia, who goes undercover as her own maid to see if the man her father is setting her up with is worth her time. Beth Lilly sparkles as the maid who gets to enjoy life pretending to be her wealthy mistress, throwing herself into being woed by the eligible Dorante. The thing is, Dorante had the same idea and has come disguised as his own driver. Ammar Duffus charms as the eloquent millionaire pretending to be a chauffeur, while Michael Lyle is on fine comic form as the inappropriate driver who grabs the opportunity to seduce the woman he believes is Lady Silvia.

Sound confusing? It actually all makes a weird kind of sense in the comic world of the play. To add further layers to the comic intrigue, unbeknownst to the rest of them Lady Silvia’s father (played by David Acton) and brother (George Kemp) know exactly who everyone really is and get to have a lot of fun at everyone else’s expense. There is a contagious merriment to both Acton and Kemp’s performances, I would have happily seen more of them.

‘The Game of Love and Chance’ is joyfully fun. While it is baggy in places, there are many laugh out loud moments, the modernisation has been done with great respect to the essence and tone of the original ,and the cast, directed by Jack Gamble, gleefully bring to life the comedy of the piece.

If you are looking for a play about breaking down class structures, this isn’t the show for you. If you want to laugh at the misadventures of a couple of ridiculously posh people in love, you’ll find much to enjoy.

You can find out more, or book, at the Arcola website here: https://www.arcolatheatre.com/whats-on/the-game-of-love-and-chance/

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