A Wolf in Snakeskin Shoes is Marcus Gardley’s modern adaptation of Moliere’s classic Tartuffe. Set in Atlanta, the story follows the glitzy Archbishop Tardimus Toof, renowned throughout the Deep South for his ‘healing hands’, and his ability to take money from the sick and dying in exchange for his powers – as a vessel of God – to instil faith and life in all those he ‘touches’. Of course, Toof has his own vices, namely women, and when Toof’s latest attempt at philandering is discovered by his formidable wife Loretta, he is given just 7 days to make enough money to clear their mounting debts and prove his renewed constancy to his wife. How is Toof to accomplish such a feat? As if by magic, the ‘miracle’ presents itself in the form of Organdy, a multi-millionaire dying from cancer of the heart.
And so the story unfolds; Toof must extract enough of Organdy’s millions to secure his future and win back his wife, whilst overcoming the many obstacles presented by Organdy’s stunning fiancée Peaches, his camp, closeted son Gumper, and outspoken, tempestuous daughter Africa – newly returned from the same said continent. Yet as the lure of money gleams ever brightly, Toof’s own gospel becomes skewed, as he sinks deeper into his own greed.
Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham directs this new play with a brashness that reflects the harshness of its message, juxtaposing this with the soothing sounds of the gospel choir. The ensemble cast excel in their roles, with Michelle Bonnard providing much wry humour as both Mexican housekeeper Dorita, and blonde bombshell Maxine, and powerhouse performances being given by many others – especially Lucian Msamati as Apostle Toof himself, whose relationship with the audience makes him a likeably slimy character, in spite of his shadiness and hypocrisy.
The set reflects perfectly the velveteen drabness of Toof’s showbiz world, as well as the empty airy mansion of a millionaire scrabbling for something cling to. With a script that bites in its rhymes, and a cast that sparkles, this adaptation is a shining example of how Moliere’s seminal work remains brutally relevant to the capitalist world we live in today.
A Wolf In Snakeskin Shoes
By Marcus Gardley
Directed by Indhu Rubasingham
Award-winning playwright Marcus Gardley returns to the Tricycle Theatre following 2014’s critically-acclaimed The House That Will Not Stand. This fresh take on Molière’s Tartuffe, set in a world of fast-food tycoons and megachurches is a wicked new comedy that rocks the foundations of trust, faith and redemption.
A Wolf In Snakeskin Shoes – Behind The Scenes
Given just days to live, multi-millionaire Archibald Organdy puts his faith in the flamboyant Archbishop Tardimus Toof, a prophet, preacher and part-time masseur who arrives in Atlanta from the deep, deep south. Toof promises to absolve Archibald’s sins and heal his disease, but his family suspect there’s more to this healer than faith, virtue and snakeskin shoes.
Lucian Msamati stars as Archbishop Tardimus Toof alongside Sharon D. Clarke as Lady Toof. The Tricycle Theatre’s Olivier-Award winning Artistic Director Indhu Rubasingham (Multitudes, Red Velvet, Handbagged, The House That Will Not Stand) directs.
Director: Indhu Rubasingham
Designer: Tom Piper
Lighting Designer: Paul Anderson
Sound Designer: David McSeveney
Musical Director: Nigel Lilley
Composers: Ben and Max Ringham
Arrangements: Nigel Lilley, Ben & Max Ringham
Movement Director: Coral Messam
Cast: Adjoa Andoh, Ayesha Antoine, Michelle Bonnard, Sharon D. Clarke, Wil Johnson, Lucian Msamati, Karl Queensborough and Angela Wynter.
Thursday 8th October 2015 – Saturday 14th November 2015
269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7J