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BWW Review: SOME GIRL(S), Park Theatre, 19 July 2016

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The latest production in the Park Theatre's Park 90 auditorium is a revival of Neil LaBute's Some Girl(s). Brought to the stage by the Buckland Theatre Company, the play follows Guy as he revisits some old flames in an attempt to exorcise relationship demons before his wedding.

He devises a list of 'some girls' who he feels he treated badly in the past and travels all across America to attempt to set each record straight, visiting Seattle, Chicago, Boston and Los Angeles. Rather than being a straightforward look at relationships, the play actually delves into the human psyche to explore the difference between male and female outlooks. With the recent proliferation of politically themed shows across London, this comedy drama is a refreshing change and explores equally important topics.

The show makes creative use of the intimate space, giving the stage a complete makeover for every scene. Each is set in a different budget hotel room (PJ McEvoy's design providing a ring of authenticity), which is rearranged by stage crew dressed as hotel staff whilst a projection tracks Guy's progress. Ambition outweighs practicality in these transitions, as they inevitably take quite some time to complete. Aside from this, under Gary Condes's direction, the production retains a sharpness that keeps driving the story forward. Joe Price's lighting design subtly creates moments of focus that enhance the emotional content - a good example coming in the first scene, as Sam (Elly Condron) finally opens up to Guy.

The four members of Guy's list are completely contrasting characters: from childhood sweetheart Sam and flirtatious Tyler (Roxanne Pallett), to married, older woman Lindsay (Carolyn Backhouse) and straight-talking Bobbi (Carley Stenson). Each highlights a different aspect of Guy's own personality in the way he handled their respective relationships - and in doing so, the audience goes on a journey with Guy, building up a better picture of his character through the eyes of these women.

They are all exquisite proponents of the comedy in LaBute's text; Pallett brings a playful sense of humour to Tyler, while the other women use varying degrees of sarcasm to get their points across. Importantly, it all feels very natural - almost as if it were unscripted. Each in their turn is adept at bringing across the more emotional side of their character. The most affecting performance comes from Condron, when Sam's 15-year old wounds are so unexpectedly reopened at Guy's insistence.

Charles Dorfman brings an everyman quality to the role of Guy that makes his somewhat bizarre quest quite believable. He exhibits strong comic timing and makes good use of facial expressions and physicality to keep the audience laughing, men and women alike. Guy also faces his own emotions head on, a particularly touching moment being his final encounter with Bobbi just prior to a phone call from his fiancée - Dorfman shows a complete contrast in enthusiasm that brings Guy's true feelings vividly to life.

Some Girl(s) is packed full of one-liners, but retains an emotional core. Its themes are universally relatable and, with stellar performances all round, this revival is clearly of a high enough quality to warrant consideration for an extended life after this short, off-West End run.

Box office: 020 7870 6876, www.parktheatre.co.uk

Picture credit: Claire Bilyard


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