A Flea in Her Ear is a French farce, originally written in 1907 by Georges Feydeau. Numerous revivals of this play have taken place since then and it made its Australian premiere in 1967. A new adaptation by Australian playwright Andrew Upton was presented by the Sydney Theatre Company in 2016. It is this adaptation that is presented by the 1812 Theatre Company.
After numerous attempts to stage this play were cancelled due to COVID restrictions, 1812 Theatre’s production of A Flea in Her Ear FINALLY opened. It was worth the wait.
This fast paced comedy is centered around Raymonde’s desire to have an affair with the charming and much younger Marcel. However, Raymonde suspects her husband, Victor-Emmanuel, is having an affair himself and she’s frustrated that she can’t have her own affair if she thinks her husband is already having one. It’s quite a ridiculous concept which adds to the hilarity of this play. She decides to catch her husband in the act, setting up a trap with the assistance of her good friend Lucienne. In a stark contrast to her friend Raymonde’s diminshing love life, Lucienne is in a very passionate relationship with her Spanish husband, Carlos. Meanwhile two of their household staff are also trying to have their own affair. Throw in a doctor with some questionable treatment ideas who spends way too much time at a “discrete” but seedy hotel and it all makes for a complicated but hilariously fast-paced tale.
Director Malcolm Sussman has brought together an outstanding cast. The laughs come thick and fast from the start of the show and it moves at a steady pace through three acts.
Pip Le Blond is delightfully ditzy as Raymonde. Angelia Ellis is wonderful as her friend Lucienne. Bruce Hardie is charming as the misunderstood husband, Victor. Rowan Francis is hilarious as the Spanish Carlos. Liam Mitchinson gives a strong performance as Doctor Finache. Daniel Parton is a suave and confident Marcel. Nikita Michael is perfectly cast as Antoinette, and Jacob Pilkington gives a solid performance as Etienne. Madeleine Mackaway brings a sweetness and naviety to her portrayal of Eugenie, while Roger Paul and Susan Grist are fabulously in their roles as August and Olympe. Fred Barker adds to the silliness as Baptiste, and Dessy Turk adds the naughtiness as Rugby.
The final cast member is Connor Quinn in the role of Camille – one of the household staff who wears a prosthetic due to an unrepaired cleft palate. However, the prosthesis is removed and lost on numerous occasions, providing Quinn with some of the funniest lines to deliver. Quinn is outstanding in this role and steals the show with his perfectly executed speech impediment and his brilliant comedic acting.
A quality set (Robin Emmett) adds to the laughs, and the excellent costumes (Chris Bartle/Paulette Hodson/Chris Hibberd/Val Mitchelmore) immediately sets the era. This is aided by an effective lighting design (Robin Le Blond) and sound design (Kaspar Sussman).
The 1812 has always done comedies well, and this latest offering has certainly lived up to their high standard. A Flea In Her Ear is a hilariously naughty play that is guaranteed to have you in stitches.
For more information https://www.1812theatre.com.au/