A Flea in Her Ear: There are powders for that

publicity photo for A Flea in Her Ear

Matthew Hamer and Brian Hinson in A Flea in Her Ear (Photo by Nancy Caldwell)

All sorts of people call A Flea in Her Ear one of the great farces.

I’m not sure if the script is salvageable.

Written by Georges Feydeau in 1907 and seen here in the 2006 adaptation by David Ives, Flea concerns a woman named Raymonde Chandebise who suspects her husband Victor of cheating on her. With her friend Lucienne, Raymonde sets out to entrap Victor in a place Ives calls the Frisky Puss Hotel. For complicated reasons, Lucienne’s husband Don Carlos thinks Lucienne is going to the hotel for an assignation with Victor, and things keep ramping up until, by Act 2, all the main characters, plus their friends and several of the Chandebise servants converge on the Frisky Puss and mayhem ensues.

I’m for mayhem. And I love a good farce when it’s working, as the saying goes, like a well-oiled machine. But two of the gears in A Flea in Her Ear are dangerously rusty.

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