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BWW Review: GETTING OVER EVEREST, Hope Theatre

BWW Review: GETTING OVER EVEREST, Hope Theatre

BWW Review: GETTING OVER EVEREST, Hope Theatre
It's the most wonderful time of the year...unless you've just been dumped by your partner of ten years. That's exactly what's happened to Libby. After a decade with boyfriend Rob Everest a long-term relationship status is all Libby knows. Spiralling into depression and knocking back Pinot Grigio at nine am, Libby attempts to rediscover who she is and what life has to offer.

Natasha Santos plays Libby and is also the writer and producer of the piece. Santos is very watchable and our protagonist is set up economically and effectively. Almost immediately we know exactly who she is and we invest ourselves into this complex and crude character. Her facial expressions are often hilarious but also portray the multitude of emotions Libby is feeling. It's a strong and highly believable performance.

There are numerous comical encounters with the scene between Libby and her boss and a sexual encounter with a man she meets in a bar being stand out moments. What works well is that these scenes of awkward hilarity are contrasted with an ongoing monologue that reveals how Libby is struggling to cope with such heartache. Flitting back and forth between the character's thoughts sustains our engagement and interest in Libby and the journey she is on.

Santos is well supported by Samantha Spurgin, who plays several roles. As new flatmate and long-time friend Steph she is annoyingly overbearing, constantly reassuring Libby that it's okay not to be okay. The friendship seems authentic though and there are some nice moments shared between the two. As Cassandra, Libby's office nemesis, Spurgin demonstrates excellent comedic ability and she is very convincing as a Nurse in a GUM clinic.

George Vafakis also multi-roles and showcases fine acting ability. As Libby's boss he expertly captures the awkward pretentiousness of a man who's a little above his station. His body language and facial expressions are carefully considered and the results are highly amusing. The man Libby meets in the bar becomes too much of a caricature. The actor is somewhat over the top in this depiction of a stereotypical Investment Banker and it becomes a little jarring. That's not to say it isn't funny but these laughs could be achieved with a more toned down and plausible performance without taking anything away.

There are clear influences from Bridget Jones's Diary and Fleabag here. Libby is outspoken, opinionated and often vulgar but she is also lonely, bitter, confused and vulnerable. The play flows at a good pace with smooth scene transitions and successfully finds the right balance between comedy and heartfelt emotion.

The writing is sharp and sassy and Santos displays acerbic wit in her dialogue. It's not an original story and it doesn't have anything new to say but it does have a refreshingly real voice. This is a short and sweet alternative festive treat. Some might well find catharsis but all are guaranteed to laugh into their mulled wine and leave with a smile.

Getting Over Everest at Hope Theatre until 21 December

Photo credit: Joe Carter Design


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