Cabbages and Kings’ my celebrity friend offers a refreshingly feminist dram about two friends who have grown apart in more ways than they can imagine.
The plot of the piece is rather familiar – a mismatched pair of best friends have been estranged for ten years and decided to meet up under mysterious circumstance which are gradually revealed during the course of the play. Tris is a single mum stuck in a dead end job while Lottie is a successful and wealthy writer, who is clearly showing signs of a condition slightly more serious than simply being a control freak.
But one thing I found rather compelling about the piece is the well-rounded portrayal of female friendship, with minimal focus on romantic relationships. Charlotte Hunter and Amy Kakoura had genuine chemistry – their initial frostiness towards each other melted very naturally into real affection. The script was paced exactly right for this transformation to happen without ever feeling forced.
Hunter brought to Tris a suitably nervous energy, and was visibly bubbling under the surface with the confession she needed to make. Kakoura as the self -deprecating, almost self-loathing Lottie had most of the plays funniest lines – albeit most of them were referring to herself and her own obsessive behaviour.
Unfortunately, the play did suffer from being under-rehearsed – a particular scene in the middle was quite obviously improvised as the two actors lost their place. This can of course be forgiven for a night at the theatre which is precisely for the purpose of trying out new material. I would be keen to see more of this piece as it continues to be developed by writer and director Andrew Sharpe.
My Celebrity Friend achieved its goal of putting female friendship, warts and all, in the spotlight. A long with its satisfying, and genuinely surprising twist ending, it was an intelligent and well-acted piece of new writing that passes the Bechtel test with flying colours.