Les Cloisons (“Partitions”)

Whoever said that sex is the most fun you can have without laughing probably wasn’t doing it right: Certainly the quest for a horizontal-mambo partner is full of inherently funny moments. Le Neon Theatre’s production of Jacques Languirand’s Les Cloisons (“Partitions”) exploits the humor of sexual attraction by placing the man and woman (pictured) in separate spaces and never having them meet, except in dreams. The story’s man (a frustrated writer portrayed by Didier Rousselet) and woman (a runaway wife played by Monica Neagoy) find themselves in adjoining rooms of a run-down Paris hotel. Each becomes interested in the person on the other side of the wall, and soon they’re involved in some kind of mating dance, which includes the opening and shutting of windows, pounding of pillows, and so forth. It’s certainly funny. The problem is, Les Cloisons may not have been intended to be a comedy: At the curtain call, Rousselet and Neagoy bore grim expressions, as if they’d just endured No Exit or The Duchess of Malfi. But I wasn’t the only one giggling at Rousselet’s exaggerated striptease—no one has ever made suspenders so titillating—or his agonized, passion-fueled plea: “Turn on your faucet!” Though it might be an affront to the theater’s Gallic-American pride, “cute” is an apt assessment of this charming little evening. Le Neon performs Les Cloisons in French on Thursdays, and Sunday, July 14 (for Bastille Day), and in English at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 7 p.m. Sunday, to Sunday, Aug. 4, at the Church Street Theatre, 1742 Church St. NW. $25. (703) 243-6366. (Pamela Murray Winters)