flea in her ear 88 298.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A Flea in Her Ear
(La Puce a l'Oreille)
By Georges Feydeau
Cameri Theatre, Tel Aviv
The staging of this hilarious French bedroom farce is a miracle of timing. Written in 1907, at the height of La Belle Epoque, its original, wicked wit and scandalous portrayals of sex have as strong an impact today as then.
The plot: Raymonde, a jealous middle-aged wife, has a bee in her bonnet. Suspecting her husband, Emmanuel, of infidelity, she plots to catch him in the act. Together with her best friend, Lucienne, Raymonde triggers a series of misundertandings, clandestine meetings and cases of mistaken identity that culminate in an uproarious burst of marital confusion.
This production, blessed with an ornate bourgeois Parisian interior by Ruth Dar and the original Hebrew translation by Nissim Aloni, is brilliantly directed by Omri Nitzan. Nitzan's handling of the play's physical comedy, pacing and timing are highlights of the show, as is the excellence of its acrobatic cast.
Shmuel Vilojny, in two roles, takes on the challenging part of Emmanuel but comes over best as his look-alike, the hotel porter Poche.
Also hilarious are Irit Kaplan as a fat, libidinous maid and Itai Tiran, the Cameri's celebrated Hamlet, who here shows immense versatility as the highly comical Camille, burdened as ever by his tongue-twisting speech defect. But the most striking performance of the show belongs to Itzhak Hezkiya in the lesser role of Carlos, the passionately jealous Spanish husband. The contribution of Hezkiya, a truly great stage presence, isn't diminished even in a part this small.