George Dandin, A Red Orchid Theatre. Moliere is best known for his satires: The Misanthrope, Tartuffe, The School for Wives. But for a time he collaborated with composer-dancer Jean Baptiste Lully on a series of plays that wove together dance, music, and text. These comedie-ballets were lighter and less biting than Moliere’s more famous works. George Dandin is of this type, and presumably Lully’s dances made the silly plot, about a cuckold who suffers because he foolishly married above his station in life, more palatable.
Certainly there’s nothing light or graceful about Richard Cotovsky’s plodding, low-energy revival sans dances, currently stumbling across the stage at A Red Orchid Theatre. Most of Moliere’s cartoon-thin comedy feels forced, and only Kori St. Peter and Deb Heinig as the cheating wife and her comely maid succeed in wringing real laughs from the smuttier parts of the script, though Doug Vickers as Dandin’s loudmouth father-in-law comes close. The rest of the cast, including Rick Sandoval as Dandin, seem completely lost as they hurry from one shopworn slapstick gag to another. Robert G. Smith’s Dr. Seuss-inspired set is pleasing to look at but adds little to the production–and sometimes actually interferes with the story: anyone looking out of Smith’s tiny windows looks like a prisoner in a guillotine waiting for the blade.