triumph of understated black comedy, Inspector Sands’ excellent
If That’s All There Is is a surprisingly charming
celebration of the monotonies of life, romance and wedding speeches.
Taking its inspiration from Peggy Lee’s disenchanted torch song, “Is
That All There Is?”, the play challenges the human aspiration to live a
life which mirrors the passion and drama of power ballads and Spanish
soap operas. Reality, as the play’s characters soon figure out, is a
lot more mundane.
play opens at the wedding reception of newlywed Daniel and Frances
where, after a wedding speech presented as bland as an office
presentation, the proceedings as unexpectedly cut short. Flashing back
in time, Daniel speaks to a relationship counselor regarding his
fiancée’s sociopathic nature, failing to recognise that she is
delicately trying to kill him.
playing the part as if he were a disengaged motivational speaker, Ben
Lewis’s pleasingly awkward performance as the clueless husband-to-be
is a very well observed portrayal of the modern man, more familiar with
a trusty stapler than a trusty steed.
the repressed fantasist fiancée, Lucinka Eisler is exceptional,
capturing the delicate mania of her character without disconnecting
from the play’s subtle, if skewed, sense of realism. Her hilarious
dramatic-monologue-without-the-drama is one of the performance’s highlights, demonstrating her sharp sense of comic timing as the humdrum femme-fatale.
Innocenti’s dual role as no-nonsense therapist and Frances’s
disconnected work experience girl Christina is flawless. Changing
between the two characters as easily as she changes costumes on stage,
the delightfully blunt nature of Innocenti’s laconic and short
counselor is utterly charming.
a fantastic soundtrack and some of the most dramatic shredding in the
history of theatre, the play champions the anti-climactic nature of
everyday life and wedding cake. Whilst the action at times breaks into
fantasy, an impromptu salsa or a dramatic, windswept rendition of
'Against All Odds', fancy soon subsides and reality is pathetically
the performance has reached its end and its characters have met that
final disappointment, certain disenchanted poignancy remains which
Peggy Lee would be proud of.