REVIEW: The Alchemist at Liverpool Playhouse 18/09/12

Director Robert Icke has created a new production of Ben Jonson’s 17th century comedy The Alchemist. Rachel Donohoe went along to review the show which forms part of the Autumn/Winter season at the Liverpool Playhouse. 

Not that I was familiar with the original play which was written way back in 1610 but I think this made me enjoy the production even more as I didn’t know what to expect.

Although taken from a 17th Century play, the actors aren’t trussed up in periodic dress which brings a more contemporary feel to the adaptation which is fitting for the Playhouse stage. The focus isn’t on elaborate attire but more on the witty interaction between characters and interaction with the audience.


It all starts when a plague epidemic hits London which in turn results in English gentleman, Lovewit, packing up to flee to the countryside, leaving his estate in the hands of his manservant butler, Jeremy played by Nicholas Tennant. And what greedy mitts those hands are! Jeremy gets to work under the pseudonym ‘Captain Face’ and enlists the help of his two scheming pals conman Subtle, and prostitute Dol Common and they set about to rip off the rich and ignorant to reap the benefits for themselves.

The three main characters, that are very well played, chop and change their accents, clothes and demeanour in order to trick and rob their gullible victims into a whole manner of hilarious situations by claiming to have discovered the philosopher’s stone, the substance that can transform any metal into gold

The production has lots of laugh out loud moments, a few shocks that made me jump out of my seat and clever, witty dialogue that kept us very well entertained.
Words: Rachel Donohoe // Images: Tristram Kenton


THE ALCHEMIST runs until Sat 6th October 2012

For more information and to book your tickets visit:

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