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John Nicholson in Madame Bovary (c) Jonathan Keenan
Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Peepolykus production of The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary! Directed by Gemma Bodinetz. Cast: Emma Fielding, John Nicholson, Javier Marzan, Jonathan Holmes

One of the greatest French writers of the 19th century, Gustave Flaubert, writes in his most controversial novel, Madame Bovary, about the woman and man’s moral decay. Although the novel opens with the description of Charles Bovary’s childhood and youth, soon he shall be deposed by Emma who, by marrying Charles, will become Madame Bovary. Beautiful, dreamy, and even naïve, Emma gets bored with her humdrum existence and marriage. She longs for love stories as those from the novels she reads, and thus, her decay begins.

Jonathan Holmes in Madame Bovary_(c)_Jonathan_Keenan
Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Peepolykus production of The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary! Directed by Gemma Bodinetz. Cast: Emma Fielding, John Nicholson, Javier Marzan, Jonathan Holmes

The play is directed by Gemma Bodinetz, adapted by the Peepolykus’s John Nicholson and Javier Marzan, Olivier nominated actress Emma Fielding plays the title role of Emma Bovary. With the fabulous performance of 4 actors who play over 21 characters, Gustave Flaubert’s complex novel is hilariously transformed in a long run comedy. The décor was simple, with acres of blackboard on which the actors could sketch specific drawings that effectively helped the set, though the most remarkable were the sound and light effects, all complemented by the beautiful live sound of the accordion.

Although having concerns about a tragedy being adapted into a comedy, I have to admit that the whole team did a skillful job. From the beginning of the performance, the quick shift of a dramatic soundtrack to One Thousand Green Bottles sung by Javier, a vermin controller, already set the audience off on laughter. However, the play is not intended just for laughs, as it does concern itself with major themes such as the powerlessness of women in a Victorian patriarchal society, the failures of the bourgeoisie, love and real passion, betrayal and decadence, as well as illness and death.

Javier Marzan Emma Fielding in Madame Bovary (c)
Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse and Peepolykus production of The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary! Directed by Gemma Bodinetz. Cast: Emma Fielding, John Nicholson, Javier Marzan, Jonathan Holmes

Sam Hodges, Director at Nuffield theatre said: “This new production of Madame Bovary is endlessly inventive and ambitious, and nails the hardest thing of all – switching between comic theatricality and tragic pathos in a moment.” The play is indeed a real tour de force. It is a long performance with a large plot to be covered. There is an abundance of quick changes with literally running up and down the back sets’ stairs proving the cast’s dedication and passion for the art form called theatre.

In spite of its obvious madness and seeming irrationality, the performance of The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary! was excellent, one that I would definitely recommend everyone to go and enjoy.

The play is now up and running at the Nuffield theatre until 19 March 2016 as follows:

Fri 4 Mar, 7:30pm; Sat 5 Mar, 2:30pm; Sat 5 Mar, 7:30pm; Tue 8 Mar, 7:30pm; Wed 9 Mar, 7:30pm; Thu 10 Mar, 7:30pm; Fri 11 Mar, 7:30pm; Sat 12 Mar, 2:30pm; Sat 12 Mar, 7:30pm; Mon 14 Mar, 7:30pm; Tue 15 Mar, 7:30pm; Wed 16 Mar, 7:30pm; Thu 17 Mar, 7:30pm; Fri 18 Mar, 7:30pm; Sat 19 Mar, 2:30pm; Sat 19 Mar, 7:30pm.

You can book your tickets now at:

http://www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk/whats-on/the-massive-tragedy-of-madame-bovary

£10.00, £18.00, £22.00 & £25.00

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