Diary of a Scoundrel
by Alexander Ostrovsky
adapted and directed by Sue Flack
Diary of a Scoundrel is a tale of one man's mission to worm his way into upper-class society, no matter what it takes. Originally set in 1874 in Moscow, this social comedy follows Gloumov, a poor, young bachelor, in his quest to marry a wealthy woman and acquire a simple, yet lucrative job in politics. To reach these goals, Gloumov will lie, flatter, and cater to the vanities of the wealthy. Unable to contain his disgust with his victims, Gloumov decides to give vent to his unvoiced satirical comments by recording his schemes in a diary. Accidentally, the diary is discovered by some of Gloumov's wealthy acquaintances, which could mean the end of his scheme.
Diary of a Scoundrel makes a social comment on how far an individual will go to gain wealth and power, but does so in an enjoyable, comic manner. What makes the play so funny is that we are privy to all his tricks – and probably share his dislike for all the social weaknesses which surround him. We are all aware that Gloumov’s Machiavellian surge through the social ranks is devious, deceitful and dangerous but deep down we are secretly rooting for him to get away with it all; to have his cake and eat it, to bed the heiress for her money, to cuckold his uncle and get between the sheets with his aunt, to stand on whoever gets in his way.
Escapade set the play in today's London. The original Russian ladies, lords and merchants, here were English lawyers, politicians and estate agents: the modern equivalent of the ruling class. The servants were immigrants, abused by their employers and forced to live a better life on the dole than in underpaid employment.
There was no samovar, but gin and tonic and the local gutter press has a field day with the gossip and scandal thrown to them by the play's inhabitants.
Escapade’s striking 11-strong production counted on its usual “conspirators”: with Sue Flack directing aided by Julie Nash, with a minimalist set by Adrian. P. Smith, original music by Julian Jahanpour and Eddie Mann, dramatic lighting by Tony Murchland, choreography by Jan Clayton, hair and make-up by Patricia Mullen and costumes by Juliana Georgiou-Lormand and Mariajo Labrador.
The show was seen by over 600 people in its 12 performances and doubled the Barcelona fringe theatre attendance ratings.
Watch the trailer
Eddie Mann, Julie Nash, Richard Felix, Mark Aspinall, Ben Vinnicombe, Jordi Hanley, Sue Flack, Siobhan Sheehan, Annie O'Callaghan, Jan Clayton, Tamsin Walker
Director Sue Flack
Asst Director Julie Nash
Production Designer Adrian P. Smith
Music Design Julian Jahanpour
Songs Eddie Mann
Lights Tony Murchland
Movement Jan Clayton
Violin Dave Holmes
Clarinet Nigel Haywood
Promotion Annie O’Callaghan
Make-up and Hair Patricia Mullen, Tatiana Uribe, Hrön Blöndal Birgisdóttir, Deb Cartwright-Long, Paula Barthes, Mariajo Labrador, Julia Fossi, Ionela Sandulescu
Costume Mariajo Labrador, Juliana Georgiou-Lormand, Neus Regada
Props Kristina Borg
Stage Manager Bekka Burton
Lighting Operators Roland Kelly, Mikey Harper, Jai
Graphics Derek Zinger
Review in TEATRE BARCELONA.
“I had already heard great things about Escapade but what I'd heard didn't do them justice. They really are brilliant Even though I couldn't understand all of the English, the emotions and great work done by the actors made it much easier than I had expected for a non-English speaker. The set design and lights were exquisite and it even had an original soundtrack and music. Given the added difficulty of a traverse stage (the audience sits on two opposite sides) the blocking was faultless and rounded off what was already an excellent show. So good in fact that we’re thinking of going again. 10 out of 10 for Escapade.”
Review in AT STAGE DOOR
“The Versus Teatre brings us a rather more unusual piece of theatre this week: the daring proposal of a two-hour show in English: something we're not used to seeing in Spain. The style is pure “British”. A very interesting set and staging, each scene transforms changing minimal elements to create new spaces and the actors, some of whom play various parts so well that I only realised this at the curtain call, were all brilliant. Highly recomended.”
Review in LA FINESTRETA
“An almost perfect adaptation, with well thought out set and lights by Adrian P. Smith and Tony Murchland line the audience up for a magical start which only increases when the 11 actors come on stage, some of whom play more than one part. All are good but special mention goes to excellently cast Eddie Mann in the role of Gregory Gloumov as he guides the audience through his story. Well worth a visit to the Versus to see Escapade's talent.”