What a jolly splendid evening Mrs Cann and I had watching French Without Tears! Penned by Terence Rattigan around the time the Harrogate Odeon was first opening her doors in the 1930s, this English Touring Theatre co-production (with Orange Tree Theatre and Exeter Northcott Theatre) is in town until Saturday.
This is a classic French farce, which exposes the fragility of masculinity, when faced with a beautiful, beguiling woman. Florence Roberts plays Diana Lake brilliantly, and soon has Commander Rogers, Kit and Alan wrapped around her little finger. There are some great scenes involving Monsieur Maingot (David Whitworth), who will only communicate in French and struggles with the term ‘po faced’, amongst others.
The set is excellent, and Ziggy Heath as Alan stood out for me as a particular highlight (I later learned from the programme that this is his first professional theatre role – wow!). The Commander (Tim Delap) gets some excellent laughs as he threatens to steal Kit’s girl amongst the jacuzzi bubbles, games of Japanese billiards and casino tables.
We also follow Jacqueline (Beatriz Romilly) and her unrequited love for Kit (Joe Eyre), and apart from missing a few of the jokes due to my tardy command of the French language, I absolutely loved the sharp script & excellent delivery.
In spite of the play being 80 years old, it still feels relevant to today’s world, and has a lot to say about the challenges of growing up, knowing one’s own destiny, and of course love.
A must-see for me.