Tartuffe is a French classic, written by Moliere 350 years ago but now given a modern, Birmingham twist.
It feels as fresh as ever thanks to dynamic direction from Roxana Silbert in her first production since taking the reins at the Rep.
But in partly bringing it up to date, it can’t decide what period it is set in.
Chris Campbell’s new translation mixes archaic language like “in good earnest” with modern phrases like “I don’t give a toss”.
Add in references to Lee Longlands and Orgon singing Perfect Moment by Martine McCutcheon and it’s all rather muddled and all over the place.
The costumes don’t help, combining jeans with tailcoats, plus fours, 1950s suits and an Aston Villa scarf.
Performances are good, especially from Paul Hunter as Orgon, the wealthy man who has fallen under the spell of spiritual adviser Tartuffe (a beardy Mark Williams), a hypocrite who pretends to be holy.
Hunter has great comic timing and a hilarious way of running around the stage. I also liked Ayesha Antoine as outspoken servant Dorine, while who knew Janice Connolly was so good at yapping like a dog?
There’s amusing interaction with the audience and an interesting set that messes with perspective.
The second half descends into silly but very funny farce, becoming panto-esque with jokes about Wolverhampton, car parking and even the high speed rail link.
On balance, it’s a triumph.
Runs until November 16.