16 July 2016

Some Girl(s) at Park Theatre was thoughtful, classy and surprising

I was always going to be keen to see Some Girl(s) because it is by Neil LaBute and even more so because it was on at the Park Theatre which is one of my very favourites. As always the problem was finding the time and I used a comics signing which had brought me into London on a Saturday as an opportunity to see a matinee performance.

The signing finished later than I hoped and there was a mandatory detour through Liberty to check the end of sale offers (no more shirts for me sadly) and so I did not get to the theatre until 2:45pm for a show that started at 3:15 and without a ticket. Luckily I was able to get one and it must have been one of the last as the theatre was happily packed.

I also helped myself to a coffee, a humus and avocado roll and a beer before joining the queue for Park90 early enough to get a seat in the front row.

The set was a hotel room in Seattle, the first of four that we would see. In this room was a thirty-something man, Guy, waiting for a visitor. This was Sam, a woman the same age.

We soon learned that they had been a couple at High School but he had left her. He had come back after fifteen years to make amends for his past.

Of course it was not as simple as that and in their crisp dialogue we learned that she had gone on to have the sort of life, married to a local guy in a steady average job, that he was scared of and had run away from (his excuse).

As their conversation continued we found out more about both of them and things got more complicated as we did so. Typical LaBute.

Next we moved to Chicago. It took a while to model the new hotel room and we watched an aerial flypast of Chicago as we did so. It was good to see the Mies van der Rohe tower that I visited when working at IBM in the 90s.

Joining Guy in this room was Tyler. They had had a very physical relationship back in the day and she was still living that lifestyle with no regrets, just the opposite in fact. After the why are you here? part of the conversation was out of the way Tyler seemed keen to carry on where they had left off, despite being told by Guy that he was engaged. That scene was left ambiguously as the lights dropped for the end of the first half and I went out for another beer.

We came back to Boston and to Lindsay. She was an older (only slightly) married woman who Guy had an affair with when they were both teaching at Harvard. They had been discovered after two terms (semesters) and Guy had fled leaving Lindsay to suffer the consequences. This time the tables were slightly turned and when Lindsa met Guy her husband, who had stayed with her, knew all about it.

Finally, Los Angeles and Bobbi, the girl who not so much got away as was abandoned by mistake. Perhaps Guy's attraction to her twin sister had something to do with it. More crisp dialogue, more revelations.

Then, in a minor altercation, a plant pot fell and the plot twisted sharply and unexpectedly. I was expecting a twist but had not seen that one coming. This was followed by more explanations, more regrets and another surprise.

The four acts fizzed past and somehow it was quickly 5:30pm. The intervening time was consumed by the dialogue which demanded close attention and repaid that investment many times over with it's fluidity, honesty and the little barbs that revealed more about the players and their pasts. These were people that I cared about and I wanted to hear their stories.

My interest in the people was heighted by the action and, unusually, I want to mention all of them; Elly Condron, Roxanne Pallett, Carolyn Backhouse, Carley Stenson and Charles Dorfman. I was particularly pleased to see Carolyn Backhouse again having seen her several times at the Orange Tree.

Some Girl(s) was an intelligent and rewarding play delivered skilfully. Great theatre in a great venue made for a great afternoon.


  1. Thanks Matthew - I've just booked myself a ticket!

    1. I hope you like it. No doubt I'll find out when you write about it on your blog.


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