BWW Review: WHAT'S IN A NAME, Theatre Royal, Glasgow
Elizabeth and Peter are having an intimate dinner party. The children are already in bed and Elizabeth is excited to share a new recipe for Moroccan tagine with her close friend Carl and brother Vincent.
Joe Thomas plays the thoroughly unlikeable Vincent, a wealthy man that shows up to a dinner party with £500 wine. It seems his sole purpose is to antagonise the other guests. While the decor in the flat is modest, there is a sense that everyone is doing pretty well for themselves and has a comfortable lifestyle.
Vincent's wife is late to the dinner party and he leads a conversation about potential names for their unborn child. His choice is controversial and seems to come as a shock to some of the audience despite the show poster featuring a very unsubtle Hitler moustache on an infant. His chosen name opens up a discussion about what names represent and what is seen as acceptable.
The evening descends into chaos as the host's own children's names are examined under the microscope and as the wine flows and the argument gets more heated, social niceties vanish. This play gives a very interesting look at what is deemed acceptable conversation.
There's a little nod to gender roles as Elizabeth is the one running around after everyone else and trying to keep the conversation from getting out of hand. Played by Sarah Lambie as a sweet and overly polite woman - it makes it all the more entertaining when she finally snaps.
Without giving too much away, the ending feels a little twee considering the mood of the rest of the play and the attitude of the characters. There isn't enough plot development to quite justify the turnaround.
While there are some genuine laugh-out-loud moments in the play, it seems to fall slightly short as a comedy. However, it's never dull as a drama and the script is well written and the strong cast that make this a perfectly pleasant way to spend an evening. At ninety minutes this is a fast-paced piece of theatre that doesn't outstay its welcome.
What's In A Name is at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow until 5 October.
Photo credit: Piers Foley