Review: She’s Not There

LOTTIE UNWIN ‘couldn’t help but feel that the play, which on paper has nothing wrong with it, deserved more support’ from a bigger audience.’

Corpus Playrooms Toby Jones

Tuesday 9th – Saturday 13th, 8.00 at Corpus Playrooms. £5-6.

Directed by Patrick Garety.

The poster calls it She’s Not There but on Camdram it’s She’s Not Here.  It all looked frightfully meaningful.  I expected an entrancing discussion of those big words – love and time and change – that would be yes, pretentious, but also maybe a bit magic.

Instead, it was the story of a man whose sexual appetite makes Fitzwilliam’s stats look shameful.  It seems She’s Not Here was probably just a typo.

Toby Jones, of Tab Reviews Section fame, plays the sex-crazed lead Filippo Lippi wonderfully, carrying the show in its entirety on his back.  While I know Jones’ boozy banter well enough to state there was some of him in it, his Lippi was funny, moving and ever so erotic.   Though, it was a relief that his Italian accent from the first scene quickly vanished.

The rest of the cast were very capable in their essentially one dimensional roles and there was a cohesion between them, all performing with the same, if moderate, energy.   Garety used light with startling effect in the opening scene and the space was interestingly redefined during the show.  But, in the dim partial black out exits lost all drama as characters walked back on to move clunky set pieces.

She’s Not There fumbled, failing to hit the spot.  The farce tried to propose a moral and move the audience, where motives collided catastrophically – fleeting moments of real emotional engagement between characters failed and any attempts threw the rest of the script into simplistic shadows.  Categorically not another example of ‘modern writing about current issues’, She’s Not There did feel different, but without mounting tension or demands for our empathy I found I didn’t really care.  Though the story has pace, without emotional depth to it, it rattled to a predictable conclusion.

With a cast that outnumbered the audience, I couldn’t help but feel that the play, which on paper has nothing wrong with it, deserved more support.  But, the end result was far from electrifying, though it’s hard to pin point exactly why.