Regional Reviews: Washington, D.C.
13 Rue de l'Amour
Also see Susan's review of The Tempest
Feydeau's 1892 play, translated by Mawby Green and Ed Feilbert, concerns (of course) overlapping affairs among the bourgeois in turn-of-the-century Paris. Justinien Duchotel (Lawrence Redmond) is a seemingly blameless husband who periodically leaves his lovely blonde wife Leontine (Ashley West) to go on hunting trips. Family friend Gustave Moricet (Jeffries Thaiss), a doctor and man about town, has his suspicions about exactly what Justinien is hunting, and wants to use the husband's possible indiscretions as a way to manipulate the wife into visiting his own bachelor apartment at 13 Rue de l'Amour (Love Street).
The confusions soon begin piling up. Justinien's young nephew Jean-Pierre (Nick DePinto) is still a student, so he needs money from his uncle to entertain his mistress; Justinien's friend Birabeau (Vincent Clark) confesses doubts about his own unseen wife; and several of the men just happen to be wearing identical suits while all this is going on. This is the kind of play where a hopeful lover gets caught not by the intended person wearing only socks with garters and a strategically placed pillow, and the line "How could I know your husband would take my trousers?" makes perfect sense in context.
Thaiss is properly slick and just a bit smarmy, Redmond appropriately aggrieved and frazzled, and West bubbly and coquettish, but it's Halo Wines who steals the show as Madame Spritzer, once a German countess, now the overripe concierge at 13 Rue de l'Amour. Draped in fabulously clashing ruffles of hot pink and red, with overly rouged cheeks and blue eyelids, she dithers and poses, daring the audience to look elsewhere whenever she's onstage.
The amusements of James Wolk's scenic design begin before the curtain opens, with an exaggerated free-form proscenium decorated with Art Nouveau swirls. Liz Covey has designed costumes that manage to be both sumptuous and humorous: Leontine's dress is the same shade of hot pink as much of the set.
Olney Theatre Center