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Theatre review: My Romantic History 
2nd-Nov-2010 10:27 pm
tragicomedavatar
I guess it's accurate to call D.C. Jackson's My Romantic History a romantic comedy; it is a comedy and a very funny one, and both members of the central couple experience a romance, just not with each other, nor reciprocated. 30-something Glaswegian Tom (Iain Robertson) has just started work in a new office and after his first post-work drinks with colleagues ends up in bed with one of them, Alison O'Donnell's Amy. The first act is told through Tom's narration, then for the second we rewind to the start and hear Amy's version, and the picture that builds up is of a growing relationship neither one of them actually wants, but is convinced the other one does. They both get distracted by recollections of their teenage years, and by their first loves (played by the same actors,) neither of whom they've entirely got over. The remaining characters, male and female, are played by Rosalind Sydney, although primarily she plays another of their co-workers.

Jackson's humour is pretty full-on, with a lot of swearing and sex jokes not detracting from the fact that the lines are actually very witty as well. Lyndsey Turner's production is frenetic (Robertson is soaked in sweat by the end) and all three actors are very good, and likeable, although the excellent Sydney feels a bit underused. Even Chloe Lamford's set, mainly made of document storage boxes with some standard office equipment strewn about the stage as well, adds to the sense of fun with the countless surprising places props start to appear from. There's actually something very bleak at the heart of the comedy though. Although the leads' performances initially detract from it, sooner or later it becomes apparent these two, especially Tom, really aren't particularly likeable characters and this becomes not a love story but a pessimistic story about settling for whatever you can get. Tom starts the play by saying "If you haven't met someone by the time you graduate, you're going to marry some cunt from work [...] Do you know how they get animals to breed in captivity? They put them in the same cage" and this might seem like a cynical statement that's about to be undermined; in fact the rest of the play sets out to prove it. Still an entirely entertaining hour-and-a-half, but one that leaves a bad taste in your mouth - although if you're single it's better because I for one was left appreciating that things could be worse!

My Romantic History by D.C. Jackson is booking until the 27th of November at the Bush Theatre.
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