Laffa Jaffa Productions, French Kiss (The Passionate Awakening of Barbara B)

Review in Issue 6-4 | Winter 1994

Proclaimed as a ‘cinematic fantasy’ by the publicity, the expectation was that film would play a major role in this production. It became a story of two very different, and very similar, people told partly through their mutual love of Le Grand Cinema.

As in film, both characters (played by Penny Solomon and the author Tom McCroy) were introduced separately, directly to the audience, although here the introductions were verbal and far less subtle than on any screen. The characters constantly switched between their ‘real’ situation as French teacher and student, to their ‘reel show’ of dramatic, uncinematic, emotional outbursts. By acting out the movies in their minds each character began to confuse the ‘real’ and the ‘reel’... which led to the fateful dinner where fantasies overtook reality, almost leading to disaster. Thankfully Barbara B became aware that her beloved tutor was nothing like the vision in her head.

The acting throughout was fast-paced, clear and extremely well timed, with humour abounding at every turn. The journey home was a wonderful section, all hopes, nervousness, visions and embarrassments, captured beautifully by both actors.

Unfortunately, a vital spark seemed to disappear towards the end when dark reality began to rear its ugly head. From having no previous indication of background to either character, suddenly Barbara B, who had by this time discovered her strength and independence, became a woman deeply psychologically wounded by her relationship with her mother. I'm afraid this had no significance for me, and only served to dampen what had been an exciting and breathtaking adventure into fantasy land.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 1994

This article in the magazine

Issue 6-4
p. 25