'A Flea In Her Ear' - Funny, Funny, Feydeau Farce

The Tabard Theatre production is a 'must see' writes Penny Flood

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There’s some high class silliness at the Tabard, an update of the Feydeau farce. It’s fast, it's furious and very, very funny. The basic plot and all the rude bits are there, and director Alex Sutton (who must possess one the most creative brains around) has added some music, strobe lighting, camp artists, and more rude bits. A cast of six play 15 roles so there's a lot of costume and even sex changes. It's over the top, completely bonkers, and great fun.

Ensuring that we know it's in France, Sutton has added cardboard cut outs of French symbols - the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, bread, wine and even the Mona Lisa (it's Italian, but it's in the Louvre), which are paraded around at the start while the cast sing a silly song in Franglais.

It opens in the elegant drawing room in the house of Raymonde, a lady who lunches, telling her friend Lucienne she thinks her husband Vincent is having an affair (something to do with some stripy braces), so Lucienne writes an anonymous love letter to Vincent to trap him. It goes without saying that the letter falls into the wrong hands, and to make matters worse, and funnier, Lucienne's volatile Spanish husband Carlos recognises her handwriting and goes off to kill her.

Throw in a man servant with a speech impediment, a creepy doctor with a moustache on a stick, a Brummy business manager, a scantily clad hotel maid, a Brit in Union Jack Y-Fronts, mixed up jackets and lots more, and you've got a farce.
By the second act, they've all turned up at the seedy Hotel Friskee Puss whose seedy manager wears a leopard skin print coat that matches the wall paper. There a double-sided double-bed swinging from the ceiling and lots of bedroom doors which open and slam at an alarming rate as characters rush on and out.

And so it carries on for two glorious hours, as muddle and misunderstanding reign. Who's in love with who, who's on bed with who and even who's who; there are some priceless moments where Victor gets mistaken for Posh the hotel waiter. It's hard to keep up.
At the end they're back where they started, but the final joke's on the audience. Carlos asks his wife what's going on and she explains in great detail, only in Spanish.
A big well done to the talented, enthusiastic and very energetic young cast: Jamie Burkett, Dominic Brewer, Haley Catherine, Rachel Dawson, Clark James and Richard Watkins, who give it their all.

It's a Tabard in-house production, everything they've done up till now has been smashing (Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado, Please Wait Patiently etc), and I'm happy to say they're maintaining the same high standards here.

Penny Flood

A Flea in Her Ear Runs at the Tabard Theatre until 23 April. You can book tickets online or call the Box Office on 020 8995 6035.

April 1, 2016

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