There isn't much of the alleged obscenity that so affronted the good burghers of Basingstoke in this production the other week. There isn't much of the alleged feminist perspective, except that lustful Giacomo doesn't actually succeed in seducing the wily Charpillon. There isn't, in fact, much of anything in particular.
Andy Lucas's Italian accent combines with a passing facial resemblance to remind me irresistibly of Chico Marx; his ardour is that of the comic Latin lover, to which it's hard to imagine anyone succumbing. Soho whore La Charpillon's triumph is one more example of the fallacious Madonna ethic: you can move the goalposts on the sexuality field as much as you like, but you still play by male rules. Writer/director John Constable relies on a courtroom scone for his climax (look, I'm sorry), but ironically fouls up his law. Casanova devoted two entire chapters of his memoirs to the account of this failure; there are those who may feel that life's too short.
Written for City Limits magazine.
Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.
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