Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Mr Nobody

Philip Ralph
Soho Theatre
(2003)

Philip Ralph has come up with a great concept. Tommy is a sophisticated tramp who has no recollection of his life beyond the last twelve months.

When an awful lady, Claire (played with relish by Maggie McCarthy), announces that she is his wife, he has to try to remember her. This presents all kinds of moral dilemmas. Is it fair to take up a life with a woman you have never met (at least in your mind)?

Unfortunately, the plotting is far too complex as Ralph uses every possible variant on a theme rather than trusting his characters to develop. This dissipates both the humour and the pathos and traps three excellent actors.

Niall Buggy is a suitably belligerent and bemused Tommy who would be happier left to sleep in parks than resume marriage with a woman who he doesn't like. Patricia Kerrigan is Jean, a former social worker who seems to need to play good fairy in order to fulfil her own shattered life. Little really hangs together.

With a reworking, the script and the characters could turn into a good play with coherent characters. It isn't there yet. A word of praise for Soutra Gilmour's church hall set. This is symbolically ripped apart at the edges giving the disjointed feel that a play about a lost mind needs.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher