I've finally been to see Love! Valour! Compassion!, which I was talking about two months ago. I do take my own sweet time.
Actually, it wasn't a my-only kind of sweet time. It was to be a themed evening, with a couple of friends (gay) and me. As it turned out, it was six guys and me. It was bound to take a while to set a date.
Let me set the stage (ooh, pun.) The audience was made up for 3/4 of gays (which was painful, considering how gorgeous some of them were - then-present company included), 10% of packs of half-naked girls (well one of them was half-naked, and it wasn't me) and 15% of semi-natural straight people. Oh actually, two old ladies were sitting right behind us, which I thought was absurdly cool of them, and then they started commenting on everything during the whole bloody play, in the kind of whisper that can make me want to rip someone's throat, at the cinema or theatre. How feelings can change.
OK, on to the play. I haven't seen either the movie or the play in English and so can't compare. It's a very good adaptation anyway, in French I mean, well written and with many a reference transposed into French culture. It did struck me as bizarre, in a French context, to see something so American as emotional scenes being immediately followed by funny/burlesque scenes, and it made me feel like I was in an American sitcom, in French, with French actors etc. Don't know if I'm clear.
Two actors were extremely good (Buzz and John/James*), and I bawled. God I bawled. Silently. Which is frustrating when you want to be really loud about it. The rest of the cast was not transcendental (well, the guy playing Ramon - which they French-ised into Slimane - was taken straight out of the French version of American idol, so we certainly weren't expecting a Molière-worth performance), but I suspect that was also to do with the stage direction hence director, or whatever you call it for stage, because I'd already seen two of these other guys and I knew for a fact they are extremely talented.
Bobby notably was a bitter disappointment. The first time I saw this guy act, I was baffled, lost for words, impressed, in love. Yeah, good acting does that for me. And in that play, I found his character was bordering on the caricature. Too exalted, too nice, too romantic, too rigid when walking - sometimes I felt the guy was not only blind, he was handicapped in many many other ways. But not everyone did in the group, so maybe I'm just setting the bar way too high.
And enlighten me here, when it was staged in the US (or the UK), was the cast naked? Because that struck all of us (interested as we were) as not necessary. They're not naked all the time, but they do spend a fair bit of time in the simplest apparel. Nice (do not get me wrong, it was very nice), but very unnecessary, and probably just meant to attract drooling crowds on all levels of the sexual horizon. Well, it's working.
To sum up, if you're in Paris, and want to go see a modern play, this is as good a choice as any.
* Researching this thanks to IMDb so you can have all the references. I'm nice, aren't I?