Theater Review: Dinner with Idiots

Translated by Yosef El-Dror, Directed by Moshe Kepten, Habima National Theater 30/10/10.

Francois Pignon (Ya’akov Cohen) is a certified, gold-plated idiot. He works at the finance ministry and makes matchstick models about which he never shuts up. For wealthy publisher Pierre Brochant (Rami Heuberger) he’s a shoo-in for Champion Idiot at the weekly Idiot’s Dinner Brochant and friends hold every Tuesday. Each brings an idiot-of-the-week and all vote for champion at the end of the meal.
Except that this time it all goes catastrophically wrong because Brochant has put his back out. His helplessness and Francois’ attempts to be helpful leave Brochant’s life in ruins and the audience asking “just who’s the idiot here?” Cohen steals the show. He is epically dense as Francois. You want to hit him and hug him simultaneously, and because that’s not on, you go helplessly from giggle to guffaw. As Brochant, Heuberger is the perfect straight man, and the two work seamlessly together.
It’s a pleasure to watch them maneuvering on Eran Atzmon’s elegant set.
Dinner with Idiots is essentially a two person play whose remaining characters add the spices. As tax inspector Lucien Cheval, Shimon Cohen provides both humor and dignity.
Amnon Wolf makes an easy and likeable LeBlanc, Brochant’s once and future buddy while Riki Blich and Yael Zafrir do justice to the women in Pierre’s life, his mistress Marlene and his wife Christine.
Kepten directs impeccably and if the production lacks Gallic subtlety at times, no matter.
We lap this up because it’s great fun.