Review: Things We Do For Love @ New Theatre
After the general hilarity of See How They Run, another type of comedy would grace the New's stage.
The king of the modern British farce, Alan Ayckbourn's play Things We Do For Love from the 90s may have a very slightly dated quality, but the views on love and its complications still ring very true today.
The quartet of characters are each involved in passionate love. Each form of this love is the pride or eventual disgrace of each certain character. Barbara welcomes her old friend Nikki and her new partner Hamish to the flat above her own. With the next-door neighbour Gilbert, things take a briefly sinister tone, but it's mainly silly accentuated moments of light humour (his drunk scene was both convincing and outrageous). I can't give away too much as it's integral to the plot, but an unfaithful twist is very much a case of 'well that escalated quickly'.
My plus one and I may not have been very lucky in love recently, but we can concur that being unfaithful and lust is a big problem today when it comes to proper relationships. It remains baffling how people hate each other so much and yet love each just as fervently. One thing is certain: you don't hit a women, as is seen in the hilarious but shocking fight scene towards the end of the evening. This play has the appearance of being one of Ayckbourn's best. Its tragic comic feel is jarring but you are deeply drawn into the characters' lives.
This evening would also rekindle my love of autograph hunting. Very pleasing to have the whole cast sign my programme and a few photos as well (I scoffed at my friend taking a selfie with one cast member). They were a wonderfully close-knit cast. Natalie Imbruglia, most famous for the song Torn has made this her stage debut and she couldn't fit a character like Nikki better in her prim, happy-go-lucky and perhaps even ditzy ways. Claire Price as Barbara was a telling depiction of women who doesn't know just quite what to do with herself, happy to snap, bark and bicker when the time is right. Very realistic. Edward Bennett, who was great fun in One Man, Two Guvnors, here keeps up his momentum as the dashing, slightly Scottish, vegetarian Hamish. You can totally see women going for him as he is that much of a dish, but the ladies still know that he is revealing more than he should be as the more the plot thickens. Simon Gregor as Gilbert was very funny, but could also grate very easily in such a tiring role for the other characters to have to handle.
I was unexpectedly moved at times as the tragic themes come through, the use of the ladies' old school song complementing this (with even a rude version the pupils had created). The set highlight was the upstairs, which we barely got to see, but a massive screen covering most of it gave the actors a great opportunity to act with their legs. There was also a sex scene I won't even go into, as it was so silly and British.
Love after all, is a funny thing...
Go see it, go laugh and go cry.
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