With violence soaring among young men in the ghettos of France, Xavier Durringer's play appears timely. Alas, this drama by a French "in-yer-face" playwright, translated by our own Mark Ravenhill, sees class warfare only in sexual terms and has more to do with posturing than politics.
Outside a nightclub, Rou waits for his new girlfriend, Lucie, a married woman. He and his friend Vic are joined by Rose and her brother, Poupon, a sad sack who imagines a future in which his sister is married and he will be "dreading Sundays because I know I have to go round to them to eat my dinner".
Even without Vic's helpful hint ("Rou's asking for it: one of these days he's going to bite off more than he can chew"), it is clear that something nasty is going to happen. Banned from the club by the woman at the peephole, Rou wants to "get my finger in and rip out her retina". He insults his friends; when Lucie appears, he insults her; and when her husband arrives...
Durringer gives no sense of the characters' lives or milieu, nor does he make it plausible that they should play out their intimate lives in the street. In Richard Twyman's flabby production, the actors, who never reach TV standard, slump, sometimes appearing to catch 40 winks, while Rou beats his chest and howls. The style may be dans ton visage, but there is no brain behind it.
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