Some movies just don’t work on stage and When Harry Met Sally is, sadly, one of those movies.
The iconic romantic comedy of two friends negotiating their differences and discovering whether they can just be friends is played out in a series of scenes over a 12 year time span (often leaving you wondering what year you’re in).
The lacklustre dialogue and perpetuating changes of set make a disjointed collection of scenes to tell the 80-minute story.
The stage lights dim as the scene changes and endless props are moved around and on and off stage; some scenes are seconds long making you wonder why they were going to so much effort. It only serves to remind you that this should be a screenplay.
Accompanied by a voiceover from a different couple telling you about their relationship at each scene change, the anecdotes they attempt to distract you with are lost as you can’t help but stare at the shadowy figures move yet more furniture around on stage.
The unexplained absence of Rupert Hill for press night went barely unnoticed as Luke Rutherford stepped into the breach as Harry. He took on the role with passion and conviction and gave a convincing performance. Sarah Jayne Dunn’s Sally was equally enthusiastic but neither fully engage with the audience making for an unemotional and unconnected portrayal of the characters.
The infamous restaurant scene gets the biggest laugh; I expect because the audience were anticipating it and it was delivered with the conviction expected.
Hailed as a stunning soundtrack by Jamie Cullum, the music plays a minute part in events and barely registered with me.
The cast try their best and give good performances with the material they have, but the overall production lets them down and ultimately has no sparkle.