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Review: Moliere's THE BUNGLER at STNJ is a Comedic Jewel

"It's a price that must be paid for all the blundering rashness you've displayed."

by Mascarille in The Bungler

Simply stated, go see The Bungler. It's now onstage at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey (STNJ) through July 30th. This Moliere comedy, translated by Richard Wilbur, enjoys wonderful direction by the theatre's Director of Education, Brian Crowe and features a cast that completely captures their roles. It is a perfect summer production, an appealing, laugh-out-loud show for people of all ages.

The Bungler is set in the town square of Messina, Sicily. It tells the story of Lelie, who is hopelessly in love with Celie, a beautiful gypsy girl who is a slave to Trufaldin, a rich old man. Lelie's valet, Mascarille is an ingenious trickster who devises multiple schemes to bring the two young people together yet Lelie foolishly foils each plot. Even though Mascarille is exasperated by all the blunders, he strives to help Lelie win the heart of Celie. Hijinks, romance, and some outlandish events make this story a charmer.

STNJ has assembled a marvelous troupe of actors who perform Moliere's comedy with real vivacity. They portray the colorful characters so well that each scene is enthralling and the cleverly rhymed dialogue is delivered with impeccable timing. Leading the company is Kevin Isola as the cunning, loyal servant, Mascarille. The outstanding company includes Aaron McDaniel as Lelie, Pandolfe's son; Sophia Blum as Celie, Trufaldin's slave; Eric Hoffmann as Trufaldin, an old man; James Michael Reilly as Anselme, Hippolyte's father; Drew Dix as Pandolfe, Lelie's father/Ergaste, a friend of Mascarille's; Devin Conway as Hippolyte, Anselme's daughter; Sam Ashdown as Leandre, a young man of good family; Danilo Ottaviani as Messenger/Andres, a supposed gypsy. Rounding out the cast are Tommy Bowden, Isabel Lagana and Jack LeGoff as the Citizens of Messina.

The Creative Team has developed a stunning visual landscape for The Bungler with scenic design by Richard Block; lighting design by Andrew Hungerford; and costume design by Paul Canada. The Production Stage Manager is Kathy Snyder.

Additional Artistic Staff includes Assistant to the Director; Rebecca Feely; Assistant to the Stage Manager, Kyle Dannahey; Assistant to the Stage Manager; Grace Lamport, Assistant to the Costume Designer; Maggie Neal; Wardrobe Assistant, Kaiya Look; Wardrobe Crew, Jessica Sanford; Wig Designer, Emilia Martin.

On the opening night of The Bungler, STNJ's Artistic Director, Bonnie Monte addressed the audience and stated, "We have had a lot of fun with this show." Join in the fun and see Moliere's rarely performed comedic jewel.

The Bungler will be performed through Sunday, July 30th at the F.M. Kirby Shakespeare Theatre located at 36 Madison Avenue, Madison on the Drew University Campus. Patrons can purchase tickets by visiting or calling the Box Office at 973.408.5600 or by going online at www.ShakespeareNJ.org.

Photo Credit: Jerry Dalia



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