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Peviewed 4 December 2010, Opened 14 December 2010, Closed 5 March 2011 at the Old Vic Theatre in London
A major revival of Georges Feydeau's 1907 classic farce A Flea in Her Ear in London starring Tom Hollander and Lisa Dillon and directed by Richard Eyre, presented in a version by John Mortimer.
Georges Feydeau's comedy of errors is set against a backdrop of jealousy, misunderstandings and confrontation. When Raymonde suspects her husband Victor of infidelity, she enlists the help of a friend to set a trap resulting in mistaken identities, bruised egos and comic disaster.
The cast for A Flea In Her Ear stars Lisa Dillon as 'Raymonde' and Tom Hollander as 'Victor' with Di Botcher, Jonathan Cake, Oliver Cotton, Freddie Fox, Fiona Glascott, Lloyd Hutchinson, Tim McMullan, John Marquez, William Maxwell, Rebecca Night, Maggie Service and Walter van Dyk. Directed by Richard Eyre with set designs by Rob Howell, costumes by Sue Blane, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Gregory Clarke. Other Feydeau farces seen in the West End include Mind Millie For Me at the Haymarket Theatre in 1996.
"According to the late John Mortimer, 'farce is tragedy played at a thousand revolutions a minute'. And he should know, having done the sparkling translation for Richard Eyre's delightful revival of A Flea In Her Ear, Feydeau's best-known farce. Though I think he should have added the word 'potentially' because the essential difference between farce and tragedy is that just as it looks as if things are inevitably to go calamitously, fatally wrong, a truly tragic catastrophe is avoided. Certainly, Eyre's physically and verbally agile cast hit the piece at such a pace that frequently a dangerous situation is averted by, well, an Eyre's breadth, as another door opens and a further distracting complication arises. While in English the phrase 'a flea in her ear' means a fierce telling-off, in French it refers to a suspicion. Raymonde (Lisa Dillon) thinks her husband Chandebise is having an affair because this once insatiable lover is suddenly no longer up for it... But in spite of feeling breathless with admiration for the expert execution of this piece, one can't help but wish that there had been more at stake here than an imagined so-called flea." The Mail on Sunday
"The director, Richard Eyre, understands exactly how to maximise the comedy: playing it at high speed, with his finger firmly on the fast-forward button, and with technical perfection. As the production progresses, things will only get funnier - and Feydeau's huge influence on Fawlty Towers more evident... A Flea in Her Ear is not the most sophisticated example of French wit. The actors work extremely hard, however, and are evidently having a lot of fun. The casting throughout is inspired... A Flea in Her Ear is a cheerfully, self-consciously silly piece, the very essence of belle époque frivolity, but it does have an incredible level of structural organisation, which suggests that Feydeau, although a famously idle fellow, must have had the mind of a first-class mathematician, or perhaps chess player." The Sunday Times
A Flea in Her Ear in London at the Old Vic Theatre previewed from 4 December 2010, opened on 14 December 2010 and closed on 5 March 2011.