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
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.