Review by Carrianne Bell
I’ll admit that I’m not that up to date on Québécois culture. In fact, other than a introductory course that was part of my French language courses when I first moved here, I don’t think I could count on one hand how many Québécois movies, plays or tv shows I have watched.
There is one exception though. I saw Francis Verber’s play, Diner des cons, many years ago and remember laughing through the whole thing.
And so, last night, I found myself at the Salle Albert-Rousseau watching L’emmerdeur. Also written by Verber, the play revolves around Francois Pignon (a character from Diner des cons) and Jean Martin, two men sharing adjoining rooms at a hotel outside of the Justice Hall.
Both of them are awaiting a star witness to appear below, Pignon to photograph him, and Martin, a professional assassin to carry out a hit.
Pignon is distraught that his wife has left him and decides to end it all. When the bellman finds him after a failed suicide attempt, he enlists Martin’s help. In exchange for not calling the police and ruining his contract, Martin agrees to take care of Pignon and comedy and laughs ensue.
The cast is made of up Normand l’Amour as Jean Martin, Marcel LeBoeuf reprising his role as Francois Pignon, Pierre-Francois Legendre as the bellman, Patrice Coquereau as the detective and Monique Spanziani as Pignon’s ex-wife.
LeBoeuf and L’Amour make the perfect comedic duo. LeBouef makes his whiny character lovable and l’Amour brings out the soft side of the crime-hardened assassin he plays. The story is absolutely ridiculous and perfectly hysterical.
The jokes are impeccably delivered and timed, but what made the show enjoyable was the physical comedy.
During the one-act ninety minute show, the two of them were in constant motion, falling off beds, out of windows, and all over the set.
The amount of physical effort needed to put the play on is incredible. As the hit gets closer and closer and L’Amour’s character becomes more and more outraged and frustrated, he undergoes an almost physical transformation.
I came out of the play a little bit more cultured and a lot more interested in enhancing my Québécois theatre repertoire.
The play is appropriate for most audiences but geared towards adults. There’s nothing too racy in it, just great jokes and great laughs.
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