Sunday, June 5th, 2011
MURDER, executions, religious persecution and bodily mutilation seem unlikely candidates for comedy – but combining them with a sophisticated opera has led to a tongue-in-cheek send-up of extremist views.

Adapted from Voltaire’s novella, Candide is described as a “fiercely funny comic operetta” satirising fashionable 18th century philosophies, such as the Catholic church’s inquisition that routinely tortured and killed heretics.

Directed by Kevin Langoulant at Playlovers in Floreat, he said Candide was a timely reminder of religious and political extremes.

“At the time of writing, the US was going through McCarthyism [making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without evidence] and this affected most of the original writers of the show,” he said.

“Like Voltaire, they gave a light-hearted view of a serious matter. Once again, it is time to remind people that extreme views can be held to ridicule.”

Langloulant says Candide has a strong story and complex music but it’s rarely presented in its full form.

“A new production by the Royal National Theatre in London in 1999 presented a fresh look at the show,” he said.

“It went back to its roots and the Voltaire original more than many previous productions that stressed the comic and ignored the serious angles.

“The strength of the Playlovers company provides a cast able to handle the complex music without losing the depth of the drama in the story.”

Involved in theatre for the past 40 years, Langoulant started as a stage manager for the Hole in the Wall Theatre and was technical director for the Civic Theatre Restaurant, Dirty Dick’s, Diamond Lil’s and the Perth and Fremantle Old Time Music Halls.

During the 1980s, he worked as a freelance director on the east coast and became chairman of the Committee for Performing Arts for the Albury/Wodonga Regional Council.

After 13 years in the UK, Langoulant returned to Perth in 2003 and became production manager for several Gilbert & Sullivan Society of WA shows and is artistic director the Fremantle Musical Theatre Company.

With Candide, he believes the complexity of the music will be his greatest challenge.

“The singers need to be able to read music and sing complex harmonies usually only associated with opera,” Langoulant said.

“But too much stress on the musicality could lose both the comic and serious aspects of the story.

“Voltaire's book is one of the classics of Western literature but is actually a light and somewhat ridiculous story.

“It ridicules the strongly held beliefs of its time by showing how absurd they become when taken to extremes.

“To cover all this in a two-hour comic opera and still be entertaining is a challenge.”

Candide plays at 8pm, July 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 and 17 and 7pm, July 10 and 17. Tickets are $25, $20 concession – book on 0415 777 173 or [email protected]

Playlovers is located at Hackett Hall, Draper Street (off Underwood Avenue), Floreat. More information about Playlovers is at

candide1.jpg: Natalie Fulcher, Patricia de Soto-Phillips and Lyndall Fairbairn are in Candide this July.

candide2.jpg: Leesa Frawley and Mike Whitley take on a variety of roles in Candide.

candide3.jpg: Candide is described as a tongue-in-cheek send-up of extremist views and features Alan Markham, Leesa Frawley and Rex Gray.

candide4.jpg: Kevin Lloyd and Lyndall Fairbairn are in the “wickedly funny” operetta Candide this July.

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Playlovers has been in operation for more than 50 years in Western Australia. Generally performing from Hackett Hall, Draper Street, Floreat, the company puts on four to six seasons a year - including one to two musicals.

Members are encouraged to participate in all aspects of the club: on the creative side (performing, directing, etc), the more technical activities (lighting, backstage, set-building, costume-making, etc) or on the sidelines (serving teas and coffees, and generally helping with other front of house activities).
Kevin Langoulant
P: 0418 912 579


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