by Sukey HowardJuly, 2005
An Anglais in Paris
What happens when a nice young Brit is hired by a French firm to open a string of English tearooms in Paris? Sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it's really the beginning of A Year in the Merde, Stephen Clarke's rollicking romp through the intricacies of working, wooing and just ordering a cup of cafÅ½ au lait that doesn't come in a soup tureen and cost a fortune, performed with the right accents and style by Gerard Doyle, who adds that soupÂon of je ne sais quoi. Paul West is trying his best to adjust to Parisian life, but his devastatingly loony French, his British work ethic and desire for the opposite sex keep getting in his way. Somehow, over the months he comes to grips with French hypocrisy (not unlike hypocrisy round the world), masters the French shrug, gets fired, gets a girl and gets on with it. Fun, whether you're a Francophile or -phobe.