This show will tickle all of your funny bones
A tale of feminism, sexual vulgarity and the French nobility? Sacrebleu!
Monsieur d’Eon is a Woman is a play by Mark Brownell based on the true story of Chevalier d’Eon, a French diplomat and spy who disguised herself as a man in the French court. The play delightfully dramatized the rise and fall of d’Eon, as well as the French monarchy during the French Revolution.
George Brown Theatre School (GBTS) opened this production on Apr. 10 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts as part of their spring repository season.
The main story opened with the French court and Demi-Lee Bainbridge’s King Louis XV delighting the audience with pompous flair. Bainbridge’s performance was further elevated by Manon Ens-Lapointe’s Madame Pompadour. Ens-Lapointe brought energy into every moment of her performance, and the comedic chemistry between her and Bainbridge started the show off on an incredibly strong foot.
Vulgar humour and language interlaced with high-class French society is an instant recipe for some hilarity. However, without the absolute joy coming from each actor on stage, this comedy would have fallen flat after the first joke.
It was clear that the actors either seriously deserved an Oscar, or were actually just having a great time on stage. That joy carried the show without flaw. There was not one joke that fell flat, one actor who couldn’t get into character or even one character that faded into the background.
The actors at GBTS seriously deserve some recognition. They have truly grasped the concept that there are no small roles, and thanks to that GBTS seems to have no small actors either.
Costumes in the production were a mix between traditional eighteenth-century fashion and a dramatization of modern fashion. The juxtaposition and ridiculousness of the costumes were perfectly crafted for each character and helped translate to the audience who the character was without any words.
Stage combat and choreography also contributed greatly to the production. The choreographed dance sequences supported the plot and added another layer of quality to this show. The stage combat at the end of the play was impressive and anxiety-inducing, the way it should be.
To be completely honest, I cannot find any critique in this performance. I laughed more than I have during any movie in recent years, the acting was superb from every angle and there was even a cameo from the Marquis de Sade.
If you want to laugh for two hours straight, see a new side to the French Revolution, and follow the feminist story of a woman trying to find her place as a man in French society, then this is the show for you.
This production is being staged at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 50 Tankhouse Lane, Toronto and runs until Apr. 20. Tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students (student ID required) and can be purchased from the Young Centre’s website.