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Role play at the Duchess

"Role Play" is one of three comedies in the Damsel in Distress trilogy currently playing in central London. Watching it with my married friend, I could see why a man would back out of his engagement before going from the frying pan into the fire.

How daughters are like their mothers! Before you propose to your live-in girlfriend, make sure you've met her mother. If she sings while she washes dishes, if she mumbles the same phrases, then beware.

Barely ten minutes into the play, I already decided that I was not Julie, the perfectionist, control freak girlfriend. I could see myself making a mountain out of a mole hill in the tense moments before a dinner party. I would probably run out to get a fork to replace the missing one. But that would be the me ten years ago.

It is brilliantly written, brilliantly cast, and brilliantly acted! We were trying so hard not to laugh too loudly! But every other sentence was cause for another big outburst.

The boyfriend Justin is a computer programmer. He wears glasses and walks with a slight hunch. He is a geek, an ever so nice lad who has been dominated by his alcoholic mother since childhood and is about to be dominated by his perfectionist girlfriend into proposing marriage.

There was so much anticipation for the boyfriend's mother to appear. You hear him answering the telephone, "Yes, Mother." You know something is up. She keeps stopping for a drink until she shows up at the dinner party completely plastered. She is the mother who has a foot permanently in her mouth. Nothing she says is ever tactful.

Why did I enjoy it so much? Because I haven't read any previews or reviews? Perhaps so. But equally, I think I've been there before: stepping on eggshells with cold feet. And everything goes horribly wrong. I didn't think it was funny then. But I sure do now!

10 October 2002 Thursday

Curtain Up Review
Londonnet Review
Justin: She just popped out to look for a fork.
Paige: A what?
Justin: A fork
Paige: Oh I thought you said something else.
-- in Role Play
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It's not a perfect world (PDF)
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