The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary

By Gustave Flaubert Adapted by John Nicholson and Javier Marzan

The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary
Paperback, 128 pages Online Price:
ISBN: 9781848425644
Format: 198mm x 129mm
Imprint: Nick Hern Books
Published: 4th February 2016
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Category: Literary adaptations, Modern drama (post-1945)

Series: NHB Modern Plays

First Staged: Liverpool Everyman, 2016, and tour

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Peepolykus bring their exhilarating combination of verbal slapstick, visual surprise and anarchic comedy to Gustave Flaubert's seminal nineteenth-century masterpiece Madame Bovary.

Laugh and cry in equal measure as Emma Bovary chooses the wrong husband. Lose yourself in mesmeric love scenes featuring a procession of devastatingly attractive men. Rail at the fate of women in a patriarchal society, if you will. Prepare yourself for vermin, moustaches, wild animals, lots of French people and a nun.

Written for a bijou cast of four playing multiple roles, The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary was a co-production between Peepolykus, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse, the Nuffield in Southampton, Bristol Old Vic and the Royal & Derngate in Northampton. It premiered at the Everyman in Liverpool in 2016 before touring to all those other places too.

Like their tremendously popular Hound of the Baskervilles, Peepolykus's Bovary offers abundant opportunities for comedy and slapstick – plus some massive tragedy – to any theatre company or drama group looking for a loving derailment of a classic novel.

'Refreshes the parts other adaptions cannot reach... Far from being a dour portrayal of French provincial life, The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary is in fact a riot. Peepolykus have essentially juiced Flaubert's original novel, extracting all the sweet and tangy bits and leaving the pulp behind... It teases and pleases in equal measure... the delightful performer-text-audience interplay marks this out for distinction... With more than a hint of Monty Python it all adds up to a rather enchanting box of theatrical tricks.'

- British Theatre Guide

'very funny, perceptive and true to the novel... a show delivered with both love and lunacy'

- Guardian

'Wonderfully tongue-in-cheek, fast-paced… metatheatre [as] an extreme sport... despite the lunacy of it all, this is actually a remarkably lucid telling of the story'

- The Stage

Gustave Flaubert (12 December 1821—8 May 1880) was a French novelist, considered the preeminent exponent of the realist school of French literature and best known for his masterpiece, Madame Bovary (1857), a realistic portrayal of bourgeois life, which led to a trial on charges of the novel’s alleged immorality.

John Nicholson is a writer, director and performer. He is Co-Artistic Director of Peepolykus, with whom he has toured throughout the UK and worldwide since 1995. He has also written extensively for BBC Radio, including Richard’s Rampage, and the four-part series Trespasser’s Guide to the Classics (2015). As an actor, John has numerous television credits, particularly across the BBC and ITV.

Javier Marzan is an actor and writer, and one third of acclaimed comedy theatre company Peepolykus. His solo work has included roles in Benidorm (for ITV), Watson and Oliver (for BBC 2), and the feature film Paddington (2014) on which he was also the Physical Comedy Creator.

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