Starring: Brian Bedford, Henry Goodman; Starring: J. Smith-Cameron; Director: Joe Dowling; Opening Date: 01/09/2003

(Through Feb. 23) In one corner, there’s Brian Bedford – mainstay at Ontario’s Stratford Festival, too-infrequent Broadway visitor, and perhaps contemporary theater’s finest interpreter of the classics. In the other, Henry Goodman – the cream of the U.K. crop, acclaimed in shows from Chicago to The Merchant of Venice, renowned for his well-publicized dismissal as Nathan Lane’s replacement in The Producers. These two theatrical heavyweights duke it out in an elegant and often riotously funny revival of Moliere’s 1664 verse play. As a well-to-do sucker, Bedford proves unexpectedly poignant; as the titular con man who snookers Bedford out of his house, his fortune, and, nearly, his wife, Goodman is a greasy (and greasy-haired) delight. But the real thief is fabulous J. Smith-Cameron, who, playing a tart-tongued maid, practically steals the show.

Originally posted February 14 2003 — 12:00 AM EST

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