Writer: June Taylor
Music: Matt Foundling and Lesley Turner
Choreography: Graham Kotowich
Director: Katie Turner
Reviewer: Ruth Jepson
The Public Reviews Rating:
“Twisted Avenue Theatre Company dare to offer something dark and different but with a good story and strong characters at its core” says RSVP writer Taylor. It is with this expectation that the audience enter the auditorium. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite achieve this goal.
RSVP is about Anthony, a Health & Safety Officer who, over the course of the play, considers committing murder to prove his love for ex-fiancé Gabby. Mixed in are an overbearing Italian mother, a laddish husband, and an extended metaphor about ham and it taking two to tango.
The play is pitched as ‘darkly comic’. Although there are some very humorous bits – the opening scene is tightly constructed comedy which got the audience giggling, and the physicality of the actors is a joy to watch – as the show goes on the jokes and posturing get a little repetitive and slightly predictable. As does the plot; the twist ending can be seen coming a mile away, leaving viewers wondering why Anthony cares about winning back Gabby in the first place.
Regrettably, what should be a good story is let down by rushed character development. Credit to them, the cast is strong. Tom Tyler plays the neurosis spot on and has great comic timing as Anthony, and Susan Jayne-Robinson’s understated performance acts as balance to the comedic overacting of both her mother (Ellen Sharrock, whose Italian accent sadly isn’t as consistent as her fantastically flamboyant gesturing) and husband Leo (Simon Moore). It’s just a pity that since RSVP is only a one act play, there isn’t the time available to see more of the characters motivations and personalities beyond the obvious – we particularly need to see more of Anthony’s inner struggle which seems to resolve far too quickly. In this respect however, applause must be given to Mark Johnson, the lighting designer, who uses washes of red and blue to cast dominating shadows across the stage which could have come straight from Anthony’s fracturing psyche. This is excellently underpinned with Foundling and Turner’s musical score, which sounds like a mixture of knives being menacingly sharpened and blood pounding through a brain contemplating how far it will go for love.RSVP - Seven Arts Centre, Leeds,