When the old billionaire arrives in a wheelchair, rhinestone dress and cigarette in her mouth, she throws a nasty joke at the maid without warning. First applause and first laughter in the room. The old woman is played by Amanda Lear and it is she, of course, that the public came to greet. The other four (two actresses and two actors) will ride for her. They will be his stooges. Amanda Lear, without filter, finds a role suited to her; she doesn't do lace. It's L'Argent from the old magazine and corrected in the Grosses Têtes style. The story is based on a metro ticket: every year, between two cruises, a wealthy heiress puts her fortune at stake at Belote. She faces a couple of not very smart ragged people who are tirelessly fleeced. The daughter of this poverty-stricken couple, Maurice (the excited and angry Atmen Kelif) and Pierrette (the energetic and devious Marie Parouty), is none other than the old woman's maid (the relaxed and rebellious Jeanne Perrin).
Her name is Anastasia and she has a manufacturing defect: she limps. Her boss never misses a chance to humiliate her, calling her Natacha, Alabama, Chipolata, Chiquita or even Rachida in turn (laughter and applause). There is a fifth, more enigmatic character: Georges, butler of the billionaire (the lymphatic Olivier Pagès). He's a sort of old handsome, alcoholic parasite who is waiting for his piece of the pie. The piece is a succession of sketches presented by short extracts from songs relating to money such as Money, by Pink Floyd, or the credits of the cult series Dallas. The decor ? A kitsch living room in a kitsch villa on the kitsch Riviera. On the back wall of the living room, an ugly painting behind which is a safe stuffed with dollars.
The play moves along briskly to the rhythm of the cunning and manipulative star's killer replies. It's sometimes fun, it's often boring. The two poor people do what they can to survive in this stifling atmosphere. They mill, sweat, get agitated, try in vain to cheat and begin to win more and more considerable sums. But joy only lasts for a while. They will leave even poorer than they were.
The most interesting character is undoubtedly that of the maid; Anastasia, a shaky representative of the class struggle, is the political backer of this black comedy. The old woman observes the poor as one marvels at a pair of bonobos in a zoo. Cruel ? Yes, but not only that. Stupidity is, after all, the most widely shared thing in the world. If the old woman is disgusting, Maurice and Pierrette are not left out. Poverty has rotted them like money has rotted the heiress. Old Woman's Money is not an unforgettable spectacle. Audiences who wanted to see crazy Amanda got their money's worth. That was the aim of the game.
The Old Woman's Money at the Théâtre libre, (Paris 10th). Such. : 01 42 38 97 14.