Review by Paul Nelson
WHEN are West End managements going to wake up and realise that there is
such an amazing wealth of talent sitting on their doorstep?
The funniest play I have seen in years, Monsieur D'Eon, performed by a more than competent cast, is being shown at the Union Theatre, and I nearly bust a gut.
The play flies through the France of the last writhings of its final dynasty of royalty, and centres on one Monsieur D'Eon, an enigma to say the least.
D'Eon, a perfect swordsman and soldier and is naturally attracted to the life of a man at court. Feted and admired he becomes an ambassador, an award winner, an icon. Led by his 'voices' he assumes the persona of Joan of Arc 'La Pucelle', and adopting women's clothes creates an enigma everyone wants to unravel.
What they (smart contemporary society) eventually do is for you to find out.
While finding out you will witness one of the wittiest evenings in the theatre that you could ever wish for in your wildest dreams.
Camp isn't the word and it has nothing to do with the in yer face productions like Mother Claps Molly House. This play has style and taste. Two things I have long despaired of ever being allowed to see in the theatre again.
All this sumptuous joy is played out by a cast whose talent you cannot believe.
To the last, they are the most stunning and versatile gang of reprobates you could ever wish to see, enjoy, and spend an evening with.
If you want arch, you have arch. If you want low comedy, you have low comedy. If you want witty dialogue, you have witty dialogue. However, most important of all, you have an evening of such amazing virtuosity both in the script and its execution that you will, as did I, be still laughing at the remembrance of it long into the night.
The evening is absolutely wonderful. It's killingly funny, it's played with panache. It's over far too soon.
Go, go, go.
GUIDE TO PICTURES: Main picture features Tim Scragg (Rousseau, Vergy, Macaroni, Casanova) and Richard Garaghty (John Wilkes, Macaroni, Benjamin Franklin), while, on the right, is Amy Oliver (Mme Pompadour, Rose Bertin, Catherine), Steve Cornthwaite (Louis XV, Morande, Jailer), and Elinor Hunt (Empress of Russia, Marie Antoinette, Mrs Cole).
Monsieur D'Eon by Mark Brownell, Directed by Michael Yale, Music by Charlie
Round-Turner, Choreography by Lilly Ashworth, Costumes by Nicholas Immaculate,
Lighting by Martin Goodman, Design by Jaspa. WITH James Auden (Prince de Conti,
Louis XVI, Guerchy), Richard Burnip (George III, Beaumarchais, Lord Halifax),
Steve Cornthwaite (Louis XV, Morande, Jailer), Richard Garaghty (John Wilkes,
Macaroni, Benjamin Franklin), Teo Ghil (Monsieur D'Eon), Elinor Hunt (Empress
of Russia, Marie Antoinette, Mrs Cole), Lizzie Mansfield (Cynthia, Elena),
Amy Oliver (Madame Pompadour, Rose Bertin, Catherine), Tim Scragg (Rousseau,
Vergy, Macaroni, Casanova), Michael Yale (Broglie, Marquis de Sade). Caroline
Nin (Voice of Joan of Arc). Produced by Theatre Metropolis at the Union Theatre,
Union Street, London SE1. Tickets 020 7261 9876.