Café-Theatre Parisien

Tue 8th May 2012

reviews

Amy Whetstone

at 23:18 on 8th May 2012

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Organised by Oxford Brookes University Modern Languages PGCE students and Alexandre Delimoges, director of the Parisian comedy theatre ‘Le Bout de l’École’, Le Café Théâtre Parisien was a very entertaining, witty and above all incredibly funny evening - for those who can speak French, that is.

From the moment I stepped in the door past the large sign warning me that there would be very offensive language (brackets underneath - in French), I knew that this would be an interesting night! The evening took the form of a sequence of traditional and contemporary French comedy sketches punctuated with short scenes of ‘blagues’(jokes) including works from comedienne Florence Foresti, among others. Completely conducted in French, the performance was certainly an undertaking for the predominantly English cast, yet they did extremely well.

I take my hat off especially to the assorted pupils of three local schools (Cheney, Wood Green and Fitzharry’s) who did an absolutely great job, acting their roles superbly and performing their tricky one liners - even more tricky in French - to perfection. The Oxford Brookes PGCE students also gave exceptional performances, the pair of sketches entitled “J’aime pas les garçons” and “J’aime pas les filles” - even you non-Frenchies know what these mean - especially sending me into hysterics. Another highlight was the dazzling and hilarious performances of Thomas Musqui, student at the director’s aptly named ‘Ecole du One Man Show’ in Paris as well as (I have to say it!) very attractive Dominic Cooper lookalike... Anyway, moving on...

My principal complaint is that the whole performance was a bit repetitive, even ‘samey’, for want of a better word. Though the sketches were invariably amusing, it would be great to see a bit more originality and creative flair in the types of acts. Singing, dancing, slapstick comedy, etc wouldn’t go amiss here, especially as the vast majority of the audience was non-French speaking and thus found it difficult, or indeed impossible, to follow the customary verbal puns and turns of phrase. Laughter echoed constantly around the auditorium, but it was certainly most established among the French element.

Nonetheless, the smiles on all the performers’ faces were infectious and the atmosphere was brilliant, even despite the rain pouring down outside. To sum it up, I quote the words of the French lady sitting next to me and laughing uproariously throughout the performance... “Very French!”

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Comments

John Robertson; 10th May 2012; 13:24:03

I agree with everything that you said here apart from it being samey. No way. When the performance finished I was genuinely shocked to see that it was 9.45 ish and that I had been watching for over two hours. If I hadn't been told at the start who the full time actors were, I genuinely would not have been able to guess some of the time. I really had to admire the bravery of the participants who were doing something probably twice as nerve wracking as stand up. Credit is also due to Yoann (sorry if I mis-spelled your name there) who was screamingly funny as a French teacher doing a dictation exercise. I am a teacher and am probably permanently scarred by that sketch. I tried to do a dictation exercise yesterday with some of my students and can't take it seriously any more. I loved the scene with the corrupt French policemen in it too. Bravo.

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