Leander Deeny, Zara Tempest-Walters, George Potts - Photo credit Robert Day

Master wordsmith Roger McGough dips his quill into Molière’s mockery of manners and morals set amid 17th century French aristocracy in a new staging of The Misanthrope. The world première production of McGough’s adaptation of this classic comedy, considered by many to be Molière’s best work, tours to the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 28th May to Saturday 1st June.

Poet Alceste is disgusted with French society. Powdered fops gossip in code and be-jewelled coquettes whisper behind fans wherever he looks.  In pursuit of honesty, he embarks on a one-man crusade against forked-tongues, frippery and fakery.  But could Célimène the woman he has fallen in love with be the worst culprit of all?

 “McGough’s version is a whimsical delight.” – The Guardian

This production reunites the creative forces of Roger McGough with Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Artistic Director Gemma Bodinetz, who directs this co-production, and English Touring Theatre, who have previously enjoyed huge success with McGough’s versions of Molière’s The Hypochondriac and Tartuffe. Written in rhyme throughout, with the exception of the lead Alceste, this delicious French fancy cleverly combines wit, humour and social comment in a sparkling, bittersweet comedy of manners.

“Darkly delicious.” – The Times 

Alceste is played by Colin Tierney, who last starred at the Theatre Royal Bath in Hedda Gabler opposite Rosamund Pike in 2010. His previous appearances at the Theatre Royal also include Sienna Red in 1992 and The Duchess of Malfi in 2000. On television, Colin’s most recent credits include Silent Witness, Holby City, The Bill, Waterloo Road and New Tricks. He played the roles of Chief Superintendent Gerry Rydell in DCI Banks and D.C Bobby Harriman in Cracker; and his film work includes the biopic of John Lennon’s early years Nowhere Boy.

Alison Pargeter, who appears as Eliante, has worked extensively with the Stephen Joseph Theatre. She has previously played the Theatre Royal in Alan Ayckbourn’s Season’s Greetings in 2004 and Damsels in Distress in 2002, winning a Critics Choice Award for the latter, which also transferred to the West End. Her television work includes EastEnders, Casualty and Rock & Chips.

Neil Caple plays the role of Dubois. His theatre work includes roles for the RSC, the National Theatre and the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse. He previously performed at the Theatre Royal Bath in Macbeth in 1994. Neil has appeared in over 20 plays for BBC Radio 4 and his television credits include Brookside, The Bill, Casualty, Holby City and Far From the Madding Crowd.

Harvey Virdi appears as Arsinoé. Her many film credits include Honour, Brick Lane, Venus, Bride and Prejudice, Anita and Me and Bend It Like Beckham. Her television roles include Mrs Malik in Citizen Khan and Nina in EastEnders, and her stage work includes roles for the RSC, London’s Royal Court and in the West End. She last played the Theatre Royal Bath in 1997 in Staying On.

Simon Coates appears as Philinte. He has worked extensively with the National Theatre and the RSC and performed in Molière’s The Hypochondriac and Tartuffe at Liverpool Playhouse, both adapted by Roger McGough.  His previous appearances at the Theatre Royal Bath include The Miser in 1995 and My Fair Lady in 1986. Leander Deeny, who plays the role of Clitandre, returns to Bath after performing in Deadkidsongs at the Ustinov Studio in 2012. The cast is completed by Zara Tempest-Walters as Célimène, Daniel Goode as Oronte and George Potts as Acaste.

Poet, broadcaster, playwright and author, Roger McGough began writing poetry at University.  After four years of teaching he joined up with John Gorman and Michael McCartney to form The Scaffold, who had a number one hit in 1968 with Lily the Pink. The author of more than fifty books, he is an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University and an Honorary Professor at Thames Valley University, and has D.Litts from the universities of Liverpool, Roehampton and Hull.  In 2001 he was honoured with the Freedom of the City of Liverpool, along with Brian Patten and Adrian Henri, whose work featured alongside Roger McGough’s in The Mersey Sound, one of the bestselling poetry anthologies of all time, first published in 1967. In 2004 he was awarded a CBE for services to literature. His recent published works include Slapstick in 2008 for children, and his latest poetry volume, As Far As I Know in 2012. The Misanthrope completes a trilogy of Roger McGough adaptations of classic Molière comedies for English Touring Theatre and Liverpool Playhouse who have previously collaborated on productions of the French playwright’s works Tartuffe (2008) and The Hypochondriac (2009).

Director Gemma Bodinetz has been Artistic Director for the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse since 2003, where she has directed numerous productions ranging from Macbeth, A Streetcar Named Desire, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? to Roger McGough’s adaptations of Tartuffe and The Hypochondriac.

Under the artistic leadership of its Director, Rachel Tackley, English Touring Theatre has become one of the UK’s foremost theatre companies. English Touring Theatre was recently awarded the Best Touring Production at the Theatre Awards UK for Anne Boleyn voted for by the public – a production which toured to Bath in May 2012.


THE MISANTHROPE tours to the Theatre Royal Bath from Tuesday 28th May to Saturday 1st June.  Tickets are available at the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or online at www.theatreroyal.org.uk