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  • Dress Circle Reviews

As Real As Anything - Review

Jamie Hutchins and Rosie Edwards and Jake and Gwen. Photo by Conrad Blakemore.

“As Real As Anything” starts by introducing us to Gwen and Duncan – a theatre couple who are looking to revive and old play which was a success last time they produced it. They are preparing to welcome Jake and Rosie for the weekend, respectively the writer and star of the play they wish to revive. As they spend the weekend trying to recreate that old success the old feelings and affairs also bubble to the surface.

The show is ultimately about relationships and it depends on these to move the show forward. Gwen and Duncan work well as the couple who are tiring of each other and the relationship between Gwen and Jake in their scenes is intriguing. However, a focal point that drives the drama is between Rosie and Duncan and it is difficult to believe in their relationship. Their affair is described as coming from an uncontrollable passion but that doesn’t come across on the stage. Their whole relationship appears to be colleagues chatting without any implication of any sexual tension or build up. There wasn’t an emotional connection there. The disjointedness of this relationship also makes the characters feel inconsistent, they don’t always feel like the same people from scene to scene which makes it difficult to care about them.

The script is good so it ensures the action keeps moving and engages you but we need to see more from Rosie and Duncan and need to get more understanding of each character.

The play is described as a “serious comedy” but it is limited on the comedy, focusing much more on the serious. The direction brings some of the comedy but both the script and direction could have leaned into that a little more. There were a few times when it felt it was almost there but just didn’t push over the line to get the laughs.

The direction by Jenny Eastop is great and keeps the pace up, including making great use of the quiet moments between scenes. As always great use is made of the space and the lighting design has been well thought out.

The play in it’s current form is really enjoyable but there a few parts that need to be focused in on, particularly firming up who each of the characters are, to elevate it. The play has a lot of potential and is worth seeing. It’s on at Hen and Chickens until July 9th 2022. Get tickets here.

Rating: 3 Star

The cast of As Real As Anything. Photo by Conrad Blakemore.


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