Review of The Fantastical Adventures of [Not] Being With You

StageWon

Publication Date: 7 July, 2012

By Jo Trainor

It is rather rare that I come out of a play feeling so incredibly lucky to have been a part of something so personal and so sweet, but Justen Bennett’s exceptionally beautiful The Fantastical Adventures of [Not] Being With You was just that. From weeping with laughter to welling up with tears, the 85 minute piece is a whirlwind insight into a relationship with an inevitable ending, no matter how desperate Character A (Max Wilson) and B (Ryan Wichert) or the audience are for it to be otherwise.

The gorgeous black box at the Blue Elephant Theatre was the perfect setting for such an intimate show. With the actors breaking the fourth wall, we literally took part in small windows of their life together. Wilson and Wichert’s energetic child-like nature was simply a joy to watch; their little dance and mannerisms were rather endearing, and with Ronin Traynor’s fight direction, their play-fights and kiss-chases were thoroughly amusing. Infinitely likeable characters, it would be heartbreaking to see them angry and upset when moments earlier they had been snuggled under an umbrella. It takes two extremely talented actors to make an audience fall in love with them quite so quickly; I will definitely be looking out for their work in the future.

Bennett’s writing was truly wonderful. Hilarious, heartbreaking and occasionally Philip Ridley-esque in its fantastical nature, the quick changes in mood and attitude never felt forced, rather echoing the nature of a relationship and the frustration of A and B. Bennett’s gift for playing with words created some of the funniest conversations and scenes I have heard and seen; I’m still laughing at B’s hatred of A having a Hotmail address; it being the “Myspace of email”.

There are a number of my friends I would have liked to have taken with me to see this, because if nothing else I genuinely think it would have been cathartic for them; recognising moments from their own relationships, perhaps being able to look at it a little more objectively or revel in the pockets of happiness onstage. If the script is published then I can only imagine how many people will want to get their hands on it! This really was the most beautiful piece of theatre I have seen all year.

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