The Cheriton Players

25 April 2023 - 29 April 2023

The Massive Tragedy of Madam Bovary

Playwright Gustave Flaubert adapted by John Nicholson & Javier Marzan Director Craig Robb


From the people who bought you the hilarious stage adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles came this zany comedy for a bijou cast playing multiple roles.

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.

We welcomed back Craig Robb to the director’s seat and new to the Cheriton stage were Natashia Berrio as Emma Bovary, Jane Wilde playing Charles Bovary (amongst other characters) and Tom Dangerfield in various roles including Emma’s two lovers Leon and Rodolphe. Another first for us was to run a dedicated stage masterclass workshop for this specific production and we were delighted to welcome back award winning Mark McGann of the McGann acting dynasty who took a few of our trickier scenes and helped to develop and shape them into something truly wonderful.

The full cast was as follows:

Tim Conway, playing: Himself, Rat-catcher 1, Justin, Bailiff, Mother Superior, Charles’ mother, Footman, Girard, Robert
David Cradduck, playing: Himself, Rat-catcher 2, Roault, The Marchioness, Cab Driver
John Weston, playing: Blind Man, Homais, Viscount, Lheureux, Curé, Dr Cavinet, Beadle
Natashia Berrio, playing: Herself, Emma Bovary
Jane Wilde, playing: Herself, Madame Codoux, Sister, Charles Bovary
Tom Dangerfield, playing: Himself, Hippolyte, Rodolphe, Léon, Tuvache.

Director: Craig Robb
Producer: Marilyn Weston
Stage Manager: Angela Ledsham
Lighting: Graham Arnott
Sound: Peter Wilde

Show photography by Simon Newman

For a full online version of our printed programme, click here.

Eleanor Marsden wrote for Winchester Today:
“Anyone with prior experience of the Cheriton Players’ productions will know that they do not shy away from a challenge; the group is known for pulling off some memorable and slickly-produced past shows which regularly exceed audience expectations. The piece requires knowledge of the material back to front and a lightning pace developed through intensive rehearsal and instinctive picking up of cues.” Her full review can be found here.

Kat Wootton (for The Petersfield Post) wrote:

“Part panto-style comedy, part melodrama, The Massive Tragedy of Madame Bovary is described as ‘ Flaubert’s complex novel lovingly derailed by Peepolykus.’ Well done to the Players for tackling this sprawling story with its numerous scenes. Also well done to the sound and lighting team, and to the very welcoming front of house. Another enjoyable evening in the capable hands of Cheriton Players.”

Read what our audiences said:
“I just wanted to say what a fun evening we had, surely one of the best things the Cheriton Players have ever done. It was fast-moving, audible, slick, lovely changes of pace and very funny, although the bits of pathos were very effective as well. You all managed so well the quick scene and costume changes. It must have been mayhem backstage.”

“That was a really wonderful evening. Congratulations to everyone”

“it was fast paced and some very good performances”

“One of our favourites!  Well done to everyone involved – exceptional!”

“Really enjoyed the raucous, hilarious & brilliantly directed performance by Craig Robb of this theatrical riff on Gustave Flaubert’s 19th century novel, Madame Bovary. Cheriton Players were great, creating a playful stab at patriarchy, privilege, deception & choosing the wrong partner.”

“It’s such a hard piece; Peepolykus stuff is so confusing to learn – Javier Marzan from Peepolykus said that he loved how complex their productions were because when it worked, it really zipped along and you felt that true connection with the audience”