It is about two sets of parents, one of whose child has hurt the other at a public park. They agree to meet to discuss the matter in a civilized manner. However, as the evening goes on, the parents become increasingly childish, resulting in the evening devolving into chaos. Originally written in French, the play was a success. It has since been translated into English, and has enjoyed equal acclaim in productions in both London and New York.

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Reviews Le Dieu du carnage by Yasmina Reza is a wickedly funny satire. If you want to see it in its original format and language, now is the time to do it. In Carnage two couples fall out over a playground attack by the son of one on the son of the other.

Here, however, there is no one to mediate between the two sides and the attacks grow in ferocity until all energy is spent. The point of Carnage is almost too obvious--namely, that civilization and all it produces, including art, is merely a thin veneer masking savage aggression and the primal instinct to dominate that still motivate human interactions.

This would seem simple enough and all four characters admit that this is a reasonable thing to do. When anger finally does break out it is not couple against couple, Annette versus her husband because his constant cellphone conversations keep interrupting the discussion. It certainly does not help that Alain, a lawyer who works for a big pharmaceuticals company, is advising those on the other end of the line to hush up a study that has uncovered dangerous side-effects to one their new drugs.

Annette sees the irony of the modern man carrying a cellphone in his holster instead of a pistol while men, like Alain, still admire a John Wayne as a model.

Yet, in fact, the result is the same. Meanwhile, the timid wholesaler Michel and his art-loving wife are not devoid of their own conflicts. Reza thus explodes the simplistic ending we expect by revealing the beast in every one of the four just as she also makes us ask ourselves why we should long to see this descent into chaos. Reza, who is also a musician, has structured the play very like a Rossini overture with its slow beginning and gradual but inevitable crescendo.

The play is very well cast. Christian Laurin dominates the stage not merely because of his height and the depth of his voice but because of his imperious manner. Meanwhile, Tara Nicodemo is hilarious as Annette, who appears so chic and self-possessed but who so quickly descends into raving drunkenness after just a few glasses of rum.

Nevertheless, Le Dieu du carnage is a work meant for the theatre not for the screen. Movies can never replicate the minute-long take that is live theatre much less the audience-actor interaction essential to comedy.

With such a fine production from TfT in the original language with English suritles , you should do yourself a favour and see the play now as it was meant to be seen. Note: This review is a Stage Door exclusive.

Le Dieu du carnage.


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