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THEATRE REVIEW | What’s In A Name, Birmingham Rep

★★★★ | A modern farce that delivers ounces of emotion, comedy and suspense. A full platter!


(Photo credit: Robert Day)

What’s In A Name, written by Alexandre De La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte, stages a dinner party packed with many surprises and twists that kept you on edge, and slightly edgy, while holding your belly for laughing. It is set in London, and the story centres itself around the name of Adolphe which Vincent jokes about calling his son when he is born. The story then darkens as secrets are revealed within each of the five guests.

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Sarah Hadland, who most would remember as Stevie in Miranda, stole the show with her multi-emotional portrayal of Elizabeth. Sarah was completely natural and every line and action was delivered with sheer dexterity and conviction. I was so happy to see Sarah aka Stevie up close, and to not see her as Stevie at the same time, which was something I really enjoyed. Raymond Coulthard was magnificent as Carl, and was great to see him back at the Birmingham Rep after watching him in King’s Speech. Carl carried the biggest secret and Raymond played the audience well, never giving any of it away. Nigel Harman, Eastenders, was formidable as Vincent, Elizabeth’s younger brother. Nigel conveyed him with such energy and natural flair that one could not help but be drawn every time he spoke and moved. Jamie Glover was excellent with his cross-examining scenes as Peter, challenging Vincent and others to prove a point. He made the set appear like it was his own home with the way he perched on or leaned against features in the front room signalling natural familiarity. Olivia Poulet as Anna was a great ingredient to turn the drama on its head with coming in quite late and revealing a hidden secret. Olivia was charismatic and held her own against the other theatrical titans.

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I seriously suggest everyone go and see this as it draws you in with the clever humour and sophisticated drama – you just didn’t know what you were going to get!

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