When Harry Met Sally
Written by Nora Ephron; adapted by Marcy Kahan, original Music by Ben & Jamie Cullum
Theatre Royal, Newcastle & Touring
When I first saw this show in London I knew I had to put aside my great love for the original movie of the same name. I did and I'm so glad I did, as this freed my mind to absorb a fresh take on a brilliantly written piece. Therefore I thought it might be safe to take another trip to find out what happened When Harry Met Sally. Sadly it was not so.
This reworking of the West End show has become a diluted version of what was a charming, funny and beautiful play. With new casting, new set design, When Harry Met Sally has lost so much!
The story (for those who missed the movie) centres on Harry and Sally, who are two best friends that have a fear that sex can ruin a perfectly strong friendship, therefore preventing either one from making that move, the move that can make them become the lovers they are forever meant to be. Over their many years of friendship and failed relationships they are brought closer and closer, but will they risk it all?
Harry and Sally are played by well known T.V faces Gaby Roslin and Jonathan Wrather. Gaby Roslin, best known for being a presenter, fails to bring to life the neurotic but loveable Sally Allbright. She does, however, manage to sustain a very one levelled performance of shouting and screeching, so bad at times I am sure she could only be heard by dogs! Jonathan Wrather, familiar to Coronation Street fans, puts in a confident performance as Harry Burns. He does sadly add a touch of Pee Wee Herman to Harry which makes him more of geek which I really don't see him as. Two supporting cast members, who shine above the two big name stars, were Quarie Marshall (Jack) and Rebecca Gethings(Marie). They both play best friends of Harry and Sally, managing to look more at ease and put in a more polished performance than the show's two leads.
The script has been adapted from Norah Ephron's screenplay by Marcy Kahan. She keeps the warmth and charm created by Ephron and gives it a perfect theatrical touch. She has managed to bring to the stage a real heart warming love struggle, and when delivered right it works a treat.
Slowing down the pace of the show was the set, designed by Gemma Fripp, which was four empty levels that were dressed throughout by the often pointless ensemble. The basic four levels slowed down all movement and scene changes, making it very heavy instead of fluid and slick.
Something that started out as a funny heart warming tale about two lovers who are just meant to be has lost its way on the national tour. I hope it returns to its charming lovable ways soon!
Reviewer: Wayne Miller