I pictured walking into a kind of strange, creepy show about God setting us on fire for all our sins, or something. No no, the synopsis told me we’d be watching two couples argue about their children’s playground punch-up, and to be honest, that didn’t sound much better. How could such a nothing plotline have merited a Roman Polanski film starring no less than Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz and John C. Reilly (the Stepbrothers dude)? Well, all was clear pretty soon - it was good.
I’m generally not one for slapstick comedies, but the pure ridiculousness of a civil meeting between neutral parties snowballing into an unfiltered, claws-out, screaming brawl garnered more than a few chuckles from the audience (there were, in fact, a lot of middle-aged ladies losing their shit). The four actors, all Hamiltonians, were fantastic; totally convincing, childishly feisty and everything they should be. A curious balance is struck on the nose for a performance that manages to at once be wine-and-fromage elegant and devilishly, ludicrously cheeky. The drunken squabbling that morphs into physical blows was at times slightly too inconceivable - as was the speed with which the meeting delved into insanity between refined people - but those are quirks of the script rather than any fault of the acting itself.
The characteristic French flair of the original script is prominent in the fact the story doesn’t follow the traditional Hollywood model. Come expecting a show that doesn’t really peak and end as such, but exists as a statement on the primal instincts we cover up with social politesse, and the utter silliness of it all. It’s a different experience seeing a live show, so go for it - it’s much more memorable than another Friday night bingeing on Netflix, after all.