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  • Writer's pictureAbigail Woodridge

REVIEW: SWEET NOTHINGS @ BARONS COURT THEATRE

🎭 Sweet Nothings 

📍  Barons Court Theatre, 28a Comeragh Road, London, W14 9HR                             

🗓 Wednesday 3rd April 2024

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



BANTER-FILLED ROM-COM VIBES


Sweet Nothings is a series of four short plays, written by Raegan Payne, depicting different ways we may encounter relationships, sex and love. It has an overall tongue-in-cheek vibe and certainly the situations encountered range entirely.


It is showing at Barons Court Theatre, a charming venue set in the basement of a pub. The basement added an atmospheric allure particularly for two of the plays with its arching walls and dark stonework. A brilliant little space to showcase a series of short plays, the audience was full and very engaged during the run.


We started off with In a Hole, a short about three women who have their partners stuck down a mineshaft, who found themselves on the news with a very blunt reporter. Within their short exchanges they encounter a suspect affair, criminal activity and somebody who appears to be on a bizarre scavenger hunt. Nicola Rockhill's portrayal certainly adds an eccentric flair with her well-timed quips. All five cast members were present in this play and started off well. Niall Burns played a fantastically comedic reporter and led well with his hopeless people skills. Although an enjoyable short it is not quite the strongest start and some of the dialogue does seem put in purely to lengthen the run of this first part.


Next came Things Unsaid, a genius portrayal of a date with his and hers actual thoughts playing aloud. Lily Rogers delivered powerful dialogue about losing lost love or choosing yourself, interspersed with innuendos. Jack Crutch had his first theatre gig with this show (as credited on the brilliant bio flyer) and delivered exceptionally in this piece. He brought a fantastic level of ponderings and laughs as the tense internal opinions of Bill's (Niall Burns) mind.


Transitions between each play were slick and the use of props were simple but effective including a single door and trellis to replicate a garden. During the scene changes, a series of captions appeared from a projector. These were certainly amusing and achieved a good laugh from the majority of the room and was a great distraction whilst the cast were prepping for the next play. A particular nod to nut cheese and the similarities to being in a relationship was well received. The production had kindly provided each audience member with a humorous information sheet which albeit some eye-rolling definitely ensued.


Ill-Informed was the third play and the one I found most difficult to connect with. It started well but soon turned into a case with quite strong levels of stalking trying to play off as funny. I have an appreciation for what they were trying to do but it gave off a feeling of unease. It ended with what turned out to be a misunderstanding with both Olivia (Lily) and Owen (Jack) having small moments of realisations about themselves and their worth. The piece was attempting to bring humour with sincere undertones of looking after oneself but it didn't quite hit the mark. Moreso it left me feeling uncomfortable when threats of violence were used.


The final play, Sweet Nothings, is one's discovery of ‘self-love’. Colette O'Brien plays the overzealous Christina who talks to her friend, Mary (Lily), through her bathroom door whilst she works to move on from her particularly irritating ex, Rob (Niall). It is a trope that has been done in various forms, however this was fairly energetic which added to the comedy. Colette's version of a ‘worship dance’ was particularly engaging and an intriguing way to end the show.


There is a central theme of heterosexual relationships running throughout and it is a bit disappointing that this has not taken the opportunity to explore other representations. Having said that this not a show to miss if you are looking for a fun evening making jest at romantic comedies. The cast have great chemistry with performances, particularly, from Lily and Jack being ones to watch.


Overall, a delightfully lighthearted comedy grouping poking fun from early relationships to a case of uncomfortable mistaken identity. Raegan Payne's writing is well thought and varied. Although, there are points for perhaps introducing more inclusivity and a wider range of relationships beyond simply showcasing straight couple experiences. The cast all work incredibly well together, I can't wait to see what they bring next to the table. 


Sweet Nothings is playing at Barons Court Theatre until Saturday 6th April. Click here for tickets.


Abigail Woodridge


All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.


My ticket for this performance of Sweet Nothings was gifted by Barons Court Theatre who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.



CAST LIST:

Niall Burns; Jack Crutch; Colette O'Brien; Nicola Rockhill; Lily Rogers


RUNNING TIME (approx):

65 minutes, with no interval


CONTENT WARNINGS:

Sexism; Sexual language; Masturbation; Brief mention of violence and suicidal thoughts 


Barons Court Theatre has a focus on supporting emerging and early career artists, many of whom have come to the industry in non-traditional ways and who have limited networks in the UK.

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