It's time for my review of Monogamy!
Throughout all of May, I had seen several posters for 'Monogamy' plastered all over buses across Richmond. After seeing Monogamy advertised so often, I chose to do some further research into it and found that it seemed to be a rather interesting play. Additionally, the lead actress in this production was West End star Janie Dee, who I had seen months before in the National Theatre production of Follies, in which she was nominated for several major awards. As a result, I was rather eager to see Monogamy whilst it was stationed at Richmond
Monogamy centres around Caroline Mortimer, the nation’s favourite TV cook. Caroline has it all - a sparkling career, a big house in Highgate, a (golf) loving husband, smart kids and the best kitchen money can buy. But beneath the immaculate furnishings, studio lighting and away from the glare of the ever-present cameras - Caroline must face the looming collision of living a private life in the public eye. Monogamy tells us the tale of what happens when the cameras turn off and the truth comes out. I found all of the characters within Monogamy to be utterly fascinating. Each and every one of them are deeply troubled, all facing some of life's most difficult hurdles. The dynamic created by these characters were particularly interesting, and the interactions between them made for fantastic viewing. The play is centred around a dysfunctional family, which I'm sure almost all of us can relate to. Whilst all of our lives may not be quite as dramatic as the events that take place within the play, Monogamy perfectly captures the essence of how living in a dysfunctional family could be. There are a wide range of themes explored throughout the duration of Monogamy, including: alcoholism, religion, marriage, extra-marital affairs, mental health difficulties, sexuality, autism, drug abuse issues, as well as depression. All of these topics were handled very well, with playwright Torben Betts capturing the essence of each issue quite realistically. Not only does Monogamy cover some very serious issues, but the play also features comedy throughout. I would personally list Monogamy as either a dark comedy, or a tragicomedy. There are many comedies that I have found funny, and yet it is rather rare that I am left laughing out loud. I am pleased to say that Monogamy was an exception to the rule. I was in stitches throughout large portions of Monogamy; the comedy really appealed to my sense of humour.
The cast of six were extremely strong, gelling with one another brilliantly and creating a greatdynamic between them. In the lead role of Caroline Mortimer is Olivier Award winning actress, Janie Dee. There is no doubt that Dee is perfectly cast in this role. She is extremely funny to watch, providing endless laughter for two and a half hours. I particularly liked her final monologue at the end of the play, which I thought was delivered perfectly. In the role of her alcoholic husband Mike, was Patrick Ryecart. Ryecart has absolutely impeccable coming time. His portrayal of a 'drunk and old fool' appeared to be so true to life and I found his performance to be utterly hilarious. As their son, Leo, is Jack Archer. Archer is extremely convincing in his portrayal of Leo, and seemed to be completely perfect for the role. As Caroline's drug addicted assistant Amanda, is Genevieve Gaunt. Amanda is a character with many sides to her, and Gaunt portrayed all of this different sides to her flawlessly. At the beginning of the play, Amanda is required to impersonate a Swedish accent, at which Gaunt was excellent at, leaving the audience in stitches! In the role of Caroline's builder Graeme is Jack Sandle. Sandle gives the audience an all round sensational performance, and his chemistry with Janie Dee is brilliant. Last, but by no means least, is Charlie Brooks as Graeme's mentally unstable wife, Sally. Brooks gives an outstanding characterisation for Sadly, a woman who is clearly suffering with severe mental health difficulties. Her monologue in which she rants about the problems she faces on a daily basis was phenomenal; it was one of the highlights of the entire play.
Whilst I know that Monogamy may not be everyone's cup of tea, I personally felt it was one of the best plays I have seen throughout 2018. Playwright Torben Betts achieves the difficult task of balancing comedy with tragedy, as well as tackling some difficult themes. Monogamy was thoroughly enjoyable and I wish it the best of luck in its run at the Park Theatre!
The featured star of Monogamy is, drum roll please... JANIE DEE!
With such an excellent cast, this was by no means an easy decision, however I ultimately chose Janie Dee for featured star. Dee is a completely captivating actress. Whenever she enters the scene, she maintains a strong control of the stage. After seeing her perform in both Follies and Monogamy, it is clear that she is a very versatile actress!
Now for my final verdict on Monogamy. I give Monogamy...
The choice to give Monogamy a four star rating was quite easy for me. I loved every minute of it and would happily see it again!
Think it should have got a higher rating? Agree with my rating? Think it should have got a lower rating? If so comment below.
Thanks for reading!