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A CurtainUp Los Angeles Review
Henri Joubert (Bradley Fisher), his wife Anne (Lisa Pelikan) and their daughter Elizabeth (Katherine Tozer), live in an obscure French village. They're French but more English than the English. To Henri’s delight, he’s offered a job managing an English book store by Nicholas Caton-Smith (Christopher Shaw) and his wife Heather (Shannon Holt). When the job falls through, the Jouberts are plunged into catastrophe.
Some of the drama stems from Henri's racism which causes the romance of daughterElizabeth, a virgin of thirty with Michael (William Christopher Stephens), a black American to crash. The surreal monologues of childhood memories and fantasies are interspersed throughout the play and enrich the characters.
For "entertainment," Henri does a scene from Fawlty Towers, which underlines his Anglophilism. Henri’s employer Albert (William Dennis Hunt), a perfume-maker, has a delightful scene in which the two pretend that their wine is tea.
Nagy directs the excellent cast with an understated shrewdness. Lisa Pelikan plays Anne with an other-worldly air. As Henri, Bradley Fisher veers from eccentric to outraged. Katherine Tozer’s blasé Elizabeth runs the gamut from furious to loving. As Heather, Shannon Holt finds a characterization that is exaggerated and funny. William Dennis Hunt is, as always, a sly delight as Alfred.
Production values are consistently good at this theatre. In this case, Frederica Nascimento’s elegant set is complimented by Jared A. Sayeg’s lighting design.
The Joubert family fight viciously, but love each other ultimately. It ends on a surprising note of nobility.