Relationships can be complicated at the best of times; no matter how long or short you have been together. Heartbreak is something you can never truly be prepared for, no matter how resilient you think you are. Factor in a break up, and having to work with your ex and cue awkward conversations of what could have been. Writer Francesca Mepham puts this to consideration with her latest work, R(ex)ception.
Based in a NHS reception help desk, the romantic lives of two individuals comically plays out. What could possibly be worse than having to work with someone that knows your weaknesses and has seen you at your worst? Difficult customers? Maybe. Francesca Mepham’s R(ex)ception is a play about the ordinary. Ordinary people, ordinary circumstances. This allows for the piece to have an air of the authenticity about it, however this can be deepened. Our protagonists are sharp and witty individuals who never give up a chance to either relay a snide remark to one other or to the eccentric patients that they meet along the way. An unconventional comedy act, Glyn Manfo and Charlotte Hunt are scathing yet hilarious with their one liners.
Mepham is sure not to take these characters too seriously. This isn’t a tragic play presenting a relationship as being the be all end of all of these’s characters’ existence. It’s reflective of our day and age, it’s a case of will they, won’t they. As these characters are always comically on form, there is a yearning for viewing the character’s vulnerable sides. Adam Morley directs an understated, dry witted, IT crowd inspired piece of theatre that only looks to place the focus on the three actors on stage. Mepham doesn’t only write about the two lovers, but also the eccentric patients that these co-workers find themselves dealing with. These characters, played hilariously by Rachael Hilton are not necessarily relatable but are heightened comical characters that I’m sure in some form or other, if you have worked in customer service… you would understand.
The complicated nature of this couple’s relationship is frustrating as you are never truly sure of what their relationship is. The play itself, although set in a typical setting has the potential to offer more about this couple. There is potential for the surface to be scratched as it would be great to learn more about how this couple met, what caused their break up etc. There are two ideas here; looking at the NHS system and the longevity of a couple.
A lighthearted 30 mins of comedy, Reception is a comical skit beginning to look at the intricacies of the work/love life balance. 3/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
R(ex)ception was shown on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd at the Bread and Roses Theatre as part of the Clapham Fringe.