Theatre; CURTAIN CALLS

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The Independent Culture
If you've just lost your family fortunes on the stockmarket, then take heart from the story of Pierre Marivaux. When the hapless 18th-century Frenchman saw his inheritance trickle away in the Mississipi Scheme (the French version of Britain's South Sea Bubble), he simply took up his quill and wrote.

The result was a series of plays which celebrated the first tremors of love. Marivaux was attacked by some because he relied on subtle dialogue rather than complex plots to convey his ideas, but he managed to earn a living from these plays, his novels, and a bit of journalism on the side - as well as accepting financial favours from society ladies.

His plays have proved enduring and are still being performed. Even so, his work has been in exile from British theatres for most of this century. Timberlake Wertenbaker's translations of False Admissions and Successful Strategies helped reintroduce him, and now the Theatre des Amandiers has joined the mission to convert British audiences with its modern version of The Game of Love and Chance. Jean-Pierre Vincent directs this comedy of manners and hypocrisy, with its themes of disguise and deception.

In Paris, Le Figaro described the production as remarkable. Take that as your incentive.

The Game of Love and Chance, Barbican Theatre, London EC2 (0171-638 8891)

Rachel Halliburton

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