Much like the one-night stands favoured by its protagonist, Jean-Claude Carriére’s ‘Little Black Book’ is sexy, exciting and ultimately unsatisfactory. It starts off as an elegant and subversive look at seduction. By the end it’s tailed off into the sort of awkward morning chat only strangers who have seen each other naked experience. This is particularly disappointing because the first two thirds are so good.
Gerald Kyd is silver fox and confirmed bachelor Jean-Jacques. One morning he leaves his door ajar and Jenny Rainsford’s deliciously leonine Suzanne slips into his apartment. He doesn’t have a clue who she is but she instantly begins to inveigle her way into his life.
Rainsford channels Audrey Hepburn in ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s as the vulnerable but luxurious Susanne. She bedazzles Jean-Jacques into submission and then seems bemused as to what to do with him. Kyd is utterly in her thrall, believably moving from comedic irritation to surreal adoration within minutes.
Sophie Cotton’s original piano compositions delicately lace each scene together. These melodic interludes add a cinematic feel and have a distinctly Parisian air.
From Jean-Jacques’ crisp suits to Suzanne’s Coco Chanel inspired dresses and the Conran-esque interiors Will Fricker’s design is plush. Director Kate Fahy keeps the pace tight and the sexual tension between her cast is palpable, until the end when it all goes a little limp.
This is mainly to do with the text. Carriére doesn’t know what the last entry into his little black book should be and Jean-Jacques’ final revelation feels empty. After the psychological subtlety of what has preceded it, the dénouement feels as clanging as the chat up lines held in such contempt by Jean-Jacques and Suzanne.
By Honour Bayes
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Really slick, lovely production of this very interesting play about love and boundaries. Both actors were excellent, the set was great and the audience seemed to really enjoy it - I know I did.
Funny and original play about crossing boundaries, to attract and let go. It is also about power in a relationship and the unique sensitivity of keeping the balance. Otherwise you loose, even if you surrender. Although in this play. It says off course nothing about your relationship. I must also think about the film 'the idiots' from Lars van Trier, hearing Susan talk. Very nice venue with good atmosphere and nice sofa's, to have lunch or coffe before the play starts.