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La Bete

The cast of the Irish Classical Theatre Company production of La Bête at the Andrews Theatre take to the stage with so much confidence, they’re practically smug. The beauty of that is, they’re so damned good, they earn the self-congratulation!

David Hirson’s play in rhyme tells the tale of Elomire, a 17th-century playwright reminiscent of Molière, and his wildly successful company. A crisis arises when their patron, the Princess Conti, decides she wants them to take on one more actor, a grotesquely vulgar and arrogant street performer named Valere.

Under the precise and witty direction of Fortunato Pezzimenti, on an excellently elegant and economical set by Ron Schwartz, the antics unfold with dizzying energy, building momentum until the sublimely thought-provoking conclusion.

The A-list cast includes Vincent O’Neill as Elomire, Gerry Maher as his loyal sidekick Bejart, and Brian Mysliwy in an unforgettable and magnificently wild, take-no-prisoners performance as disgusting Valere.

Josephine Hogan is imperiously sublime as the ruthless and appropriately named princess.

Jessica Wegrzyn is charming as monosyllabic Dorine. As the members of Elomire’s company, Jennifer Fitzery, Scott Malkovsky, Kay Keriman, Tim Newell, and the always lovely Kristen Tripp Kelley are unflaggingly perfect.

The cleverness of Hirson’s script propels the action, and the talent of the cast floats it upward. La Bête is a theatrical treat.