Reviewed by Paula Citron
Théâtre Français de Toronto
Written by Gratien Gélinas
Directed by Perry Schneiderman
Performed by Michel Séguin, Lina Blais, Nathaly Charrette, René Lemieux and Jocelyne Zucco
Berkeley Theatre Upstairs
Oct. 27 to Nov. 7, 2010
Unfortunately, Toronto French Theatre’s production of Les Fridolinades finished this weekend, but I’m delighted I was able to fit it in. It was an absolute charmer.
Iconic French-Canadian playwright Gratien Gélinas created the character of the impish Fridolin in 1936, and for the next nine years wrote radio sketches and theatrical reviews based around the character. The show’s director, Perry Schneiderman, has cleverly adapted some of the Fridolin scripts into this play.
Les Fridolinades is a satire, as Gélinas used the outspoken Fridolin to skewer Québecois society. Fridolin is a naughty boy, but he also has some eccentric friends and neighbours on his East End Montreal street. There are serious undertones concealed in the laughter. The bingo game is a riot, as is the plight of a father in a household of women. Then there’s Fridolin and his slingshot.
Kudos to the cast – Michel Séguin, Lina Blais, Nathaly Charrette, René Lemieux and Jocelyne Zucco – for bringing these wonderfully rich characters to life.