DOORS NEEDED – ONCE BITTEN

ONCE BITTEN

adapted  from Alfred Hennequin and
Alfred Delacour’s Le Proces Veauradieux by Reggie Oliver
Samuel French Ltd
ISBN 978-0-573-11325-3 £9.75

In this broad French farce  (The Veauradieux Case) there are echoes  of Restoration Comedies from the second half of the 17th Century and the early part of the 18th. And there is lots of fun to be had – if you like that kind of humour.

But beware; to do this justice, the sets (two of them) are period and quite lavish, as are the costumes, hair styles etc. If you have the money, the space and the expertise (some fluent spoken French and some piano playing required, and the timing will have to be exquisite), you will enjoy rehearsing this.

Oh, and doors. In classic farce terms, one has to have doors – ones that open when others close, and vice versa; in Acts 1 and 3, there are three of them; in Act 2 four!

There are twelve roles for various ages; seven female and five male. There are double-entendres by the brothel-full, mistaken identities, glamour and amour by the bucket-load. Oh! and a dead dog. And a chap who falls asleep every time he sits down. Oh, come on! This is farce.

This was revived to great acclaim in 2010 – so if you’re really brave…

I loved reading this play. It made me laugh, and it made me cry. What more could one want? It would, I am sure, be a joy to perform. The only problem I can see would be who to play? As a more ‘mature’ actor it’s a hard choice to make!

PETER NICOLL

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