Standing up in the theatre after clearly fidgeting during a mediocre play – Le Cocu (The Cuckold), and saying he’s not entertained Yannick (Raphaël Quenard), is just doing something that many have thought of doing at some point.

He then sets of on a polite rant about being a night watchman, how it’s difficult to get time off. With time precious and a long journey, he’s expecting a good time. After a debate he’s asked to leave by the cast. Who then when preparing to get back into the play, take the mickey out of him, only for him to return with a gun and absurd demands.

As usual Quentin Dupieux keeps his cards quite close as to what he is up to here. On one level this could be a satire on the current attitude of theatre, film, and concert audiences that the performance is for them alone: they have paid for their seat and therefore have the right to do what they want, regardless of who is around, dismissing social courtesies.

However that does tend to go into the background once into the hostage situation and Yannick makes his demands on the players. Winning over the audience, the focus turns to the actors’ egos.

The play’s cast Pio Marmaï, Blanche Gardin and Sébastien Chassagne are all over the place, in panic, making rash promises and suggestions, until they have no choice but to agree to Yannick’s demands.

It’s a one location shoot in academy ratio so keeping to the theatrical dynamics. Its all fairly straightforward so its on the cast to work with the script. And here Quenard is outstanding. Clearly a psychopath; a wrong word could trigger him off (think Tommy DeVito in Goodfellas) but also a man of some charm, if very creepy and totally unaware of boundaries.

This isn’t as visibly weird or absurd as some of Dupieux’s other films but just as playful with the conventions of audio and visual.

At little over an hour, in common with his other films it doesn’t outstay its welcome and by the end there’s a feeling that there’s not much more to say. With an ending that is heavily loaded towards one outcome though with no guarantee.

Yannick will be available exclusively on Mubi in the UK and Ireland from 5 April 2024.