Theater Review: Le Prénom

The giggles, titters and guffaws as increasing mirth engulfs the audience bear witness that Le Prénom is a genuine and intelligent comedy.

By HELEN KAYE
August 9, 2011 06:14
1 minute read.
Chicken soup with barley

Chicken soup with barley311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

What’s in a name? Plenty. Especially when Vincent (Lior Ashkenazi) suggests that he’ll call his unborn son Adolf. Adolf!? The very idea makes his brother in law and best friend Pierre (Dov Navon) apoplectic, and the evening begins to fly apart right there as skeletons tumble from closets, long repressed resentments erupt and cherished misconceptions are exploded.

The giggles, titters and guffaws as increasing mirth engulfs the audience bear witness that Le Prénom is that rare and lovely thing, a genuine and intelligent comedy. Add to that Dori Parnes’ apt translation, Moshe Kepten’s uncanny gift for striking the right directorial note for any given production, and a pitch-perfect performance by its accomplished cast.


The evening belongs to Ashkenazi as Vincent, an incorrigible prankster. Ashkenazi’s timing, mannerisms, delivery, body language, and expressions simply delight. But Navon is right on his heels.

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His spluttering, ineffectual Pierre is Vincent’s precise foil. Yael Leventhal, the perfect straight-woman, plays Pierre's wife/Vincent’s sister Elizabeth, whom she hilariously invests with an air of perpetual martyrdom. Mordi Gershon’s effeminate Claude – the family’s oldest and best friend – is as airily evoked as a soufflé, and Michal Levi is deftly effective as Vincent’s partner, Anna. What fun it is.


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