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Review - Helas Avril (Alas April): a thoroughly enjoyable evening


Helas Avril (Alas April)

By T. E. Smith

Directed by Isabelle Johnson

Presented by Brisbane French Theatre

Metro Arts

Brisbane City

Season runs until July 27. Duration 90 minutes without interval. Bookings: bft.org.au

If the words “Bidule” “Machin” and “Chou” mean anything to you or you are keen to know the meaning of said words, then Brisbane French Theatre has just the thing for you.

Hélas Avril or Alas April is a new play written by T. E. Smith entirely in French and produced by Brisbane French Theatre with accompanying subtitles in English. It is directed by BFT veteran Isabelle Johnson and boasts a sizeable cast for such a tiny and intimate space that is Metro Arts.

April follows the story of a young woman who attempts to stake out her entire month of April in the underground Metro station of Picpus. The reason? She doesn’t want to fall in love. Or in the very least, doesn’t want to have to go through the trials and tribulations that come with the inevitable breakup.

In the Metro, she meets a variety of endearing characters from the man, desperate to hang on to his Quebecoise girlfriend played by Thomas Smith and Felicity Reid respectively, to the hobo turned muso, in need of some cash, portrayed by Hugues Girod, to the tourist, Andy hailing from New Zealand who is completely lost, hilariously depicted by Brendan McHugh to the priest with an ambiguous set of morals – Guy Pigerre.

There are so many hilarious moments in this play that made the audience laugh from start to finish with slapstick antics and overtly French themes.

What I loved most about this play was the way it made me feel. At times I was amused, with laughter erupting from my lips, shocked, happy and ultimately, I left the theatre with “warm fuzzies.”

The veritable rollercoaster this play set me on was just the ticket to having a thoroughly enjoyable evening. With a wine in hand, this show should be thoroughly devoured.

This play has something for you whether you understand the lingo or not. And handy little pointers for the slang in the program makes all the difference.

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