Charing Cross Theatre (formerly New Players Theatre)
Where: Inner London
20 September 2012 WOS Rating: Reader Reviews: View and add to our user reviews A single working girl, in a studio apartment in New York City is Carrie Bradshaw stuff. But The Man on her Mind by Alan Hruska and directed by Bruce Guthrie takes us away from the gal pal culture into the sorry singleton life of the lonely city where protagonist Nellie played by Amy McAllister conjures an imaginary boyfriend, Jack, played by Samuel James rather than hitting the town and experimenting her fantasy for real.
The originally Off Broadway play resonates with London’s overwhelming rhythms in that life is so busy people resort to communicating fundamentally through answering machine messages. As a result, we get to know people without actually getting to know them. That’s until you get a plate brimming with home baked cookies suburban lady who has all the time in the world to enlighten you with Layman psycho-therapy that is sure to turn your life around. Nellie’s older sister, Janet played by
Georgia Mackenzie is convinced a move out to the Suburbs where she and her husband, Frank played by Shane Attwool live will be the quick fix method to get Nellie an actual boyfriend. I'm sure a weekend worth of girly nights out would have sufficed instead? Yes, city life can be lonely but it doesn't mean people create imaginary friends or boyfriends.
The jumpy East Coast speak serves Hruska’s one word ping-pongs and sitcom style language well but it was more T.V. than stage and the concept of make-believe relationships being better than real relationships is a redundant and lazy idea. We go back and forth between the real and imagined dimensions of love with the latter being the choice state of coexistance when the Suburban project backfires. The ending is also bizarrely unromantic even though it tried to desperately tried to be.
Despite the unmoving story, the production was upheld with promising acting especially from Desperate Housewife wanting the city buzz back Janet (Georgia Mackenzie) who realises that Suburbia doesn't hold the optimism she preaches about and designer
Emma Bailey's impressively contrasting sets between a cramped apartment and a space offering house is also a highlight. In a word it's unconvincing; nothing is gained, except that you'll probably want to get out more with your actual friends.
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