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Darling It’s Not About You

by on 11 February 2020

Three’s Not a Crowd

Darling It’s Not About You

by Julia Thurston and Sof Puchley

Threedumb Theatre at The Tristan Bates Theatre, 8th February

Review by Denis Valentine

At a time where shows like Sex Education 2 are being heavily watched on Netflix, Darling It’s Not About You is cut from very much the same cloth (imagine if Sex Education was about the love trials and tribulations of those in their early twenties rather than teenagers).

The style of the play changes throughout, addressing the main theme of love in three classic forms: it is a poem, a song and a story all intertwined together. Each of the three actors on stage break off at times to show their dramatic and straight acting skills before coming back together into the ensemble to tell the overall story as one.

In what would typically be a love triangle that forces the audience to take sides, it is testimony to the writing and strong character work that there is no clear hero or villain to the piece, and that sympathy and understanding are invoked by each of the three players.

Actress and co-writer Julia Thurston anchors the play with a great first opening monologue that does well to establish the mood and themes of the story that is about to unfold.

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Amy Leeson has wonderful comic timing and elicits many genuine laughs from the audience with an almost throw-away style of interjection. Her character work is strong, and the audience never sees her as the cuckold but as someone genuinely trying to understand their own feelings.

As Joel it is a tribute to Chris Mohan’s natural charisma and presence that he brings humour and empathy to a character that could so easily have been more of the classic villain of the piece in his struggle to choose between two people to love.

The way the play is written, by Thurston and Sof Puchley, is clever in the sense that at times rhyme and poetry are suddenly woven in for brief interludes before the writing suddenly returns to a more straight prose style, which really brings to life the relatable thoughts and emotions one might feel or struggle with or relish in such relationships.

It may be due to the time constraints and what is possible in this type of production, but the only slight disappointment is that the ending creeps in rather than landing with a final dramatic punch.

Director Bethany Fox’s staging is excellent and makes the most of a stripped back set and minimal props. The stage always feels full and the way the play is crafted means there is never a clear hero or someone to root for but rather three people to try to understand.

Denis Valentine
February 2020

Photography courtesy of Threedumb Theatre

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