I was excited when I heard Ben Jonson’s The Alchemist was going to be performed by the RSC. This sort of thing is what the RSC does best, after Shakespeare of course, and the intimate Swan theatre is the perfect setting.
The city comedy sees a servant, Face (Ken Nwosu), determined to take advantage of his master’s absence (he has flown to the country to escape the plague) to impersonate an alchemist and try and con various unsuspecting individuals out of their money. With the help of two friends, Subtle (Mark Lockyer) and Doll Common (Siobhan McSweeney), he sets out his plan, which is thwarted by the unexpected return of his master. Often very funny, and full of modern-day parallels, this is a reasonably entertaining piece clearly directed by Polly Findlay. I particularly liked the ending.