Theater Review: <I>My Sweet Husband</i> and <i>My Dearest Wife</I>
Whether putting on or put upon, the characters in farce gleefully reflect its delight in the illogical, the improbable and the ridiculous.
By HELEN KAYEMy Sweet Husband and My Dearest Wife
By Georges Feydeau
Translated by Dori Parnes
Directed by Udi ben Moshe
Two one-act Feydeau farces constitute the evening and basically the same cast plays in both. The first one, Better Late, concerns a most-miffed wife (Carmit Mesilati-Kaplan), a haplessly henpecked husband (Liron Baraness), sleepy servant Annette (Nili Rogel), Mama's servant Joseph (Oren Solo) and a terminal case of mistaken identity. In the second, Please Don't Walk About with Nothing On, pretty Clarisse (Rogel) will walk around minimally clad and it appears that nothing will dissuade her, not hubby Ventroux (Yossi Eini), not servant Victor (Solo) nor visiting mayor NodeDire (Baraness), nor a journalist (Solo) from Figaro.
Whether putting on or put upon, the characters in farce gleefully reflect its delight in the illogical, the improbable and the ridiculous. To set all this in glorious motion, especially in a period farce like that of Feydeau, both director and actors require even more than the high degree of technical skill and mischievous feeling for nuance and timing that will induce an audience to rock with laughter. They need intimacy with the manners and mores of the time.
Unfortunately these were lacking in the Khan production. Director Udi ben Moshe, who so easily swims with Hanoch Levin, seems out of his depth here. There is so much to have fun with, from the clunky bourgeois elegance of Svetlana Breger's set to the characters' idiosyncrasies, dress and deportment, but it mostly doesn't happen. Rogel comes closest, both as Annette and later, delightfully, as Clarisse. Eini sparkles intermittently as Ventroux, but far too often the actors' voices, delivery, diction and physicality plod rather than play.
This Feydeau frolics but sedately.
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