Writers and directors: Glynn Nicholas and Scott Rankin
Musical director: Alex Silverman
Reviewer: Karen McCandless
The Public Reviews Rating:
Certified delves deep into the inner realms of the male psyche as it tells the story of four male executives who leave their day-to-day lives behind and set off to the Tropics for a think tank and some male bonding. Under the guise of company restructuring, McBride (Les Dennis), Alex (Glynn Nicholas), Howard (OT Fagbenle) and Jarrad (Christopher Timothy) confront the issues that plague their life back home while exploring exactly what it means to be a man. It brings together four very different men in four very different situations to act as both a social comedy and a hilarious piece of theatre.
With a minimalist set consisting of some chairs and a table, the four men mime, sing, make sound effects and dance, adding some subtle comic touches like the noise opening of beer cans and glugging the drink down.
Modern and local touches like Usain Bolt’s lightning pose, Mo Farah’s ‘Mobot’ and references to Les Dennis’ previous work in Family Fortunes and Extras add to the feeling that it is the comic touches and timing from the actors that really make this play work well – four men with impeccable comic timing right from the introduction of the play where Timothy wondered if we’d be a rubbish audience up to the lambasting of the late arriving audience members – it was all a lot of fun for the audience and the cast.
Two stand out comic scenes are the jungle walk with Alex and McBride and the campfire scene with all four men as much of the humour is improvised, silly comments and witty observations made up on the spot. It is the chemistry between the men – especially Alex and McBride – that adds that extra depth. And musical director Alex Silverman – who played with a broken arm at this performance – provided the ideal accompaniment to the scenes.
That’s not to say that the play doesn’t have its serious moments, as Certified digs deep into the role of man in modern day society. As a line in one of the songs says “Nobody teaches you how to be a man.” McBride, Howard and Alex all go through a form of therapy at the hands of Jarrad, evaluating their lives and discovering what they really want as well as what is missing. It’s the combination of intellectual analysis combined with silly humour and dry wit that makes this play a joy to watch. There’s a point to it all and a storyline, yet Certified never takes itself too seriously.
Laugh out loud funny at times, endearingly touching at others, Certified is a skilfully realised and hugely entertaining production.
Runs until 29 September
Picture: Pamela Raith
Certified – Curve, Leicester,