by Simon James Collier.
Brockley Jack Studio 416 Brockley Road SE4 2DH To 11 July 2015.
Runs 2hr 15min One interval.
TICKETS: 0333 666 3366.
Review: William Russell 25 June.
Glorious melodramatic hokum lacking only Lana Turner.
A splendid load of glossy melodramatic hokum, this is a version of the celebrated tale by Alexandre Bisson of the fallen woman who murders her lover to save her son from scandal, then ends up in court being defended by the aforesaid son. It has been filmed five times, notably as a Ross Hunter vehicle for Lana Turner dressed to the nines and suffering as only she could.
The details of the plot varies from film to film, Bisson’s La Femme X being simply a starting point. Simon James Collier’s version suffers from some incoherence and a wildly implausible turn of events when Madame comes back from South America to France after twenty years spent being a loose woman, and her latest crooked lover gets involved in a plot to blackmail her former husband, now a prominent lawyer.
Since this would bring ruin on her son, an aspiring attorney, she shoots the cad and events duly take their course.
Chloe Fontaine suffers effectively as Madame, and Mathew Swann is suitably uptight and priggish as the man who threw her out – she had been unfaithful – but kept their baby son. It all beggars belief, and at times some of the doubling of roles gets quite confusing, especially as nobody ages and the murdered man turns up playing the judge at the murder trial.
The spectacularly red-headed Corbin Joss Furstenburg as the son, Raymond, rises to the occasion when he must defend Madame, who is refusing to speak and is in court heavily veiled, delivering his impassioned appeal for mercy rather well. But how Madame and Monsieur Floriot produced such a red-head is just one of many mysteries of an evening in which events turn-out not as one expects.
The verdict of one critic on the Turner film was it provided a chance “to enjoy a luxurious wallow in emotions that are all the more enjoyable for having no connection whatever with reality.” One could not put it better about this latest attempt to raise Madame X from the grave.
Noel Sauvarin/Robert Henri Perissard: Rory Fairbairn.
Madame Jacqueline Floriot/Madame X: Chloe Fontaine.
Monsieur Valmorin/Police Commissioner: Mario Frendo.
Raymond Floriot: Corbin Joss Furstenburg.
Madame Varenne: Maud Madlyn.
Dr Chenil/Modiste Hyacinth Mervel: J.B. Newman.
Frederic Laroque: Anthony Palmer.
Florence/Marie (hotel maid): Alexandra Reynolds.
Louis Floriot: Mathew Swann.
Director: Omar F Okai.
Designer: Martin McLeod.
Lighting: Michael Edwards.
Sound: James Corner.
Costume: Christine Pomeroy.