The Tell Tale Hearts, Murder, Madame?

Review in Issue 12-2 | Summer 2000

Based on a true story that Genet also used as inspiration for The Maids, The Tell Tale Hearts’ production of Murder, Madame? plays with the idea of murder without ever managing to commit one. Natasha Holmes and Isabel Caballero are the two maids intent on bumping off their mistress. Herein lies the premise for this skilful and very funny production. Without the possibility of Madame’s murder, there exists no game for the two to play, and without a game, there is no show.

Madame is a puppet from the school of high-romanticism, prone to outbursts of opera at the mere mention of her amour and feeble fainting fits at any hint of high drama. It is this world which the two maids love to inhabit. With Madame out of the house, they play a favourite game of mistress and servant. Within this is a subplot of aggression and superiority between the two maids themselves.

The tension lies in the role playing always being the same, and the inevitable struggle for the roles to be reversed. Again, without either one of them ever managing to become mistress for an afternoon, this possibility for play also ceases to exist.

Madame is handled well by Natasha Holmes, and the fact that she is so obviously a puppet lends weight to the idea of play and pretence – that the whole scenario is an elaborate plot for their own enjoyment and subsequently the audience’s. This is a simple concept given full theatrical treatment with entertaining results.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Apr 2000

This article in the magazine

Issue 12-2
p. 22