The Mother of Madame is Dead, is a short, sweet, enjoyable French comedy. It should be noted that, despite its inclusion in the Cabaret Fringe Festival, this is a straight play and will not fit the usual Adelaide theatre-goers definition of cabaret.

After a night out revelling, Lucien (Jean François Gavanon) returns home to his wife, Yvonne (Jessica Viven). Yvonne is irate, having been dragged from her bed to admit Lucien, who has forgotten his key. It is the perfect time for them to have a small spat and they do so with vigour – until the doorbell rings again. This time, it is Yvonne’s mother’s manservant, announcing that his mistress is very ill or, more accurately, dead.

Gavanon is amusing as the self-indulgent husband and is matched well by Jessica Viven’s demanding and hysterical Yvonne; the latter bringing to mind the type of monster her late mother may have been for Lucien. As Joseph, the bearer of the bad news, Olivier Ducros is just the right mix of obliging and anxious, injecting a natural humour into the situation. Danièle Allen is also good as the put-upon and sleep deprived servant Annette.

The play is presented entirely in French, with surtitles provided for the non-fluent audience members. There is much to amuse in this script though, sadly, some of the jokes are left out of the translated English. It is interesting to watch foreign theatre in its original form and this is an agreeable, light-hearted introduction to the genre.

Kryztoff Rating 3K