by Paula Citron
On ne badine pas avec l’amour
Théâtre Français de Toronto
Written by Alfred de Musset
Directed by Diana Leblanc
Starring Raymond Accolas, Mélanie Beauchamp, John Gilbert, Robert Godin, Julie Le Gal, Louise Nolan, Nicolas van Burek and Viola Léger
At Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs until Nov. 8
Alfred de Musset wrote On ne badine pas avec l’amour in 1834 when engaged in his passionate affair with George Sand. The title translates “There is No Trifling With Love.” The play is a Molière-style comedy before Musset delivers his sucker punch.
Director Diana Leblanc has wisely delivered an economical production that concentrates on character, aided by Yannick Larivée’s clever set of projected period paintings.
Nicolas Van Burek gives a brilliant performance as Perdican –- passionate and reasonable by turns. The low-key Julie Le Gal as the reluctant Camille rises to the occasion when required. Mélanie Beauchamp as the manipulated Rosette exhibits just the right note of innocence. The great Viola Léger, dressed appropriately as Pierrot, is the wise chorus and leads a strong supporting cast.
Indeed, Musset’s powerful message is that no one should ever trifle with love.
On ne badine pas avec l’amour continues at Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs until Nov. 8. The last English surtitles performance is Nov. 7.