The Night of the Living Losers II
by Byron Toben
The lovable losers of DEPFLIES 1 are back in Frappe les rues - part of a projected 13 part live bilingual soap opera about St. Henri denizens who hang out at a local Depanneur. In this installment, a star is born! The star is writer/director/actor Alain Mercieca's 7 year old daughter, Adele. The cast breaks W.C. Fields's famous warning to “Never work with children or animals” two fold...there is also a rodent in the plot...and gets away with it.
Mercieca plays Peter who works, sort of, at his half sister's Depanneur. His friend Roger, is a frequent hanger-on in the dep as they discuss issues both mundane and existential. Brecht discussed “What is a Man?” but in loftier theatrical terms than the Franglais quips here.
Zoe introduces Peter to a gun merchant...
In hitting the streets (hence the title), Peter encounters a squirting skunk who challenges his manhood. The residual aroma is not appreciated by the customers of the dep, except for Zoe (Lise Vigneault) an ethereal street philosopher who decides that he “smells like a man who works”. Zoe introduces Peter to a gun merchant and, although tempted to purchase a Bazooka, he purchases an archaic musket to kill the skunk and reclaim his manhood.
In a subplot, Theatre Ste-Catherine mainstay Sandi Armstrong (a holdover from the Eric Amber days) plays an Anglo lady enamored of Rick Moranis but settling upon lazy Roger as the possible father. She is delighted at a chance to babysit little Adele for an afternoon and play ersatz Maman.
Into this mix intrude four muppets, a car chase, a vegetarian grower, a hunt in the snow and an exhortation to take back the streets, but the time is not quite ripe right now. Seinfeld-like, much is made of word play on phrases such as "The tables have turned".
I would guestimate that the French percentage of the dialogue exceeds the 50% plus one enshrined in some circles, but that should be no deterrent to less than fluent speakers. All the actors have improv comic backgrounds and expressions and mugging make the plot twists easy to follow.
Note: No real animals were hurt or killed in this show.