My Romantic History

D C Jackson
Live Theatre
Live Theatre, Newcastle

Bryony Corrigan and Brian Lonsdale
Brian Londsdale and Amy McAllister
Brian Londsdale, Amy McAllister and Bryony Corrigan
Brian Lonsdale and Bryony Corrigan
Amy McAllister and Brian Lonsdale
Bryony Corrigan and Brian Lonsdale

This will, in all probability, be a very short review, and that’s because it is going to be very difficult to say much about it without giving too much away. We can say that it is a romcom—or perhaps that it deconstructs the romcom genre. Perhaps. We can also say that it deals with romantic relationships and the mess we can make of them. And that the protagonists are those people that so fascinate themselves (and us!), the thirty-somethings. And we can very definitely say that it is hilarious!

I haven’t laughed so much in a theatre in a long time. And that is the absolute truth.

I should warn you, though, that if you have a tendency to be a bit prudish, you’d better… Well, let’s put it this way: there were people near me who were obviously—and audibly—shocked at the beginning, but in no time at all they were laughing as much as the rest of us.

It was originally set in Glasgow in 2008 but writer Jackson, in close co-operation with director Max Roberts and the company, has relocated it to Newcastle with mentions—and brilliant projected pen and ink illustrations by Ben Holland—of iconic Tyneside places like the Tyne Bridge, The Sage, The Cumby (Cumberland Arms) and even my old student days hang-out, Trent House, made a visual, although not talked about, appearance.

And just as there is nothing jarring about the relocation, so the updating (a mention, for example, of Tinder) works well too.

Alison Ashton’s set manages to convey office, bedroom, living room, toilet, pub, club, school, two different universities, streets, without any changes having to be made at all, which is great because this is a fast-moving piece and moving anything more than a piece or two of furniture would slow it down.

Roberts’s direction keeps up a cracking pace and the cast of three—Brian Lonsdale (Tom mainly, but also Kelvin), Bryony Corrigan (Amy but also, at one point, Tom’s grandmother) and Amy McAllister (everyone else, male and female)—respond with excellent comic timing.

That’s it! There’s much more that could be said but it would mean revealing too much, spoiling the surprise and the fun. Because you really should go and see it.

Reviewer: Peter Lathan

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