Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Tartuffe, French playwright Moliere's 16th-century satire of religious quackery, is given right and proper treatment by the Royal Shakespeare Company in this videotaped staging. Anthony Sher plays the title role, a haughty, self-righteous phony who inveigles his way into a wealthy household. Not content with robbing his host blind in the name of the Almighty, Tartuffe also sets about to seduce the lady in the house. The satire was so pointed that, when the play was originally presented, Moliere was forced to shoehorn in a scene showing Tartuffe's punishment at the hands of the authorities--the best possible way of distancing Tartuffe's fraudulent piety with the real-life power abuses then being perpetrated by the Church. Also featured in this witty adaptation of the Moliere original is Nigel Hawthorne, who would later be nominated for an Oscar for The Madness of King George.
con/scam, aristocracy, robbery, seduction