Anne Lenk’s production of Molière’s Der Menschenfeind at the Deutsches Theater is a lively skewering of social manners, that thing we call love, and the irrational, hypocritical things people do in pursuit of it. Lenk allows space for the play’s expansive dialogue to be savoured and understood – and that’s not a given when it comes to classic plays on Berlin’s stages. Jürgen Gosch and Wolfgang Wiens’ translation skilfully preserves both the acidity of Molière’s verse and its rhyme scheme. As simple as it sounds, the comedy here is derived through the characters’ repartee – a conventional but rewarding experience. Ulrich Matthes’ Alceste, the titular misanthrope, is an admirably irascible creation, whilst Franziska Machens as Célimène charmingly conveys the sense of a character at pains to be both adored and carefree. In our world of socially driven likes and digitised hypocrisy, Alceste’s stubborn refusal to play the game – to want to be liked – resonates strongly.
Der Menschenfeind Aug 31, 19:30, with English surtitles | Directed by Anne Lenk