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

UK Theatre Network

Publication Date: 23 June, 2012

By Carolin Kopplin

In this imaginative and playful production, A and B share their love story. Romantic, witty and irresistibly quirky, the performance begins as a variety act and jumps back and forth between intimate and entertaining, clownesque scenes. This highly physical performance benefits from the fact that movement director David Raife trained at the Jacques Lecoq Theatre School as the actors pounce on each other, fight, and slide across the floor. There is not one dull moment in this show. The actors present a funny, intelligent piece of physical theatre that takes the audience on many fantastical adventures. I was particularly fond of the “underwater adventures of glory and happenstance” that involved a truly scary sea monster.

The play takes us through all the dynamics of a relationship – the power struggles, jealousy, and arguments but also the tender, romantic moments and the awkwardness of the first encounter. A and B play hide and seek with torches, present their multiple-man band with human synthesizers and prove to be absolute über-entertainers in the best possible way. Despite all the funny moments, there are many situations and lines that many of us have heard and said before and therefore ring very true: “You should be able to read my signs.” We expect a perfect soul mate but end up with a flawed human being. Max Wilson and Ryan Wichert are fantastic as the two lovers.

There is a certain amount of audience participation in the show but it is never unpleasant and makes sense in the framework of the performance.

Although this premiere of Justen Bennett’s play features two men, the characters could just as well be two women or a man and a woman. The play is universally true.