<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Surrey Life today click here

The Real Thing at The Rose Theatre in Kingston: Review

PUBLISHED: 12:44 05 October 2017

Laurence Fox (as Henry) and Flora Spencer-Longhurst (as Annie). Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Laurence Fox (as Henry) and Flora Spencer-Longhurst (as Annie). Photo: Edmond Terakopian

Edmond Terakopian

First staged in London’s West End in 1982, The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard calls on the theme of marital infidelity as its core thread, but digs deeper, lingering on seemingly insignificant comments and touching raw nerves with humour yet astute sincerity.

The plot is fairly straightforward - Henry is a sharp and successful playwright and in the opening act his wife Charlotte, an actress, appears in a scene from his play about a couple whose marriage is on the verge of collapse. Max, her leading man, is married to an actress, Annie, whom we meet in scene 2 and quickly realise she is having an affair with Henry. Real life imitates art at this stage but who’s in love with whom? Are they really in love? Is it the real thing?

Directed by former Rose Artistic Director, Stephen Unwin, this great revival includes a great cast including Laurence Fox, immediately recognisable as Lewis’s sidekick in the TV drama of the same name. Fox plays the part of the slightly supercilious but lovable Henry with great conviction, the only frustration being that some of Stoppard’s wonderfully witty lines are lost in Fox’s effusive delivery of dialogue. Rebecca Johnson is perfect as his wife, Charlotte, relaxing into the role from the outset. Charlotte gently digs at her husband, claiming he has a joke reflex rather than a sense of humour and often echoing lines from the very scenes he has written in his own plays.

The comprehension and grasp of dialogue is so important in Stoppard’s plays. Here he is at his most witty with some tender and touching writing. Our attention is grasped from the outset, lines are like golden nuggets thrown to the air and to miss them is disappointing. On occasion I wanted to press the pause button as phrases and observations came so thick and fast, important of course for the pace of the play.

On ‘words’ Henry himself says, “I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones in the right order, you might nudge the world a little or make a poem that children will speak for you when you are dead.”

The cast in this production includes Adam Jackson-Smith as Max, and Flora Spencer-Longhurst, both convincing in their roles of Max and Annie. As close friends of Henry and Charlotte, they are effective pawns in the complex game of love and fidelity, or rather, infidelity.

Despite the play being written over 30 years ago, the dialogue is so relevant today and the communication of love between lovers, partners and family is ultimately the subject of The Real Thing. Stoppard said of the revival, “We felt there was no point in trying to update it. Things like love and friendship don’t really change, a play about love and marriage is pretty much timeless.”

Amongst the fine lines and great acting, Unwin’s adaptation also includes clips of music that clearly resonated with the audience on the opening night at The Rose Theatre. Happy memories of turntables and catalogued collections of LPs resulted in a feeling of warmth and familiarity that permeated through the audience. Renewed reflections on the meaning of love were also very prevalent, and although some might feel that Henry got off very lightly in his infidelity, one can’t resist a glimmer of sympathy for him in the closing scenes.

The Real Thing is at The Rose Theatre, Kingston until Saturday October 14.

www.rosetheatrekingston.org | 0208 174 0090


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Surrey visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Surrey staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Surrey account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Fri, 15:27

The Surrey Hills beat hundreds of other locations around the United Kingdom to come in second place behind Loch Ness as one of Britain’s most photographed countryside attractions

Read more
Tue, 10:12

Finally the days are getting longer and the temperatures are climbing to double figures. Duncan Hall shares ideas for the best way to enjoy Surrey in the spring

Read more
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Take in the breathtaking views and varied habitat of Banstead Woods with this easy three mile (4.8km) walk

Read more
Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Professing to be the largest village in England, Cranleigh sits on the southern tip of Surrey and is known for its independent restaurants, cafés, shops and flourishing art scene

Read more
Monday, March 5, 2018

Don’t let the daily dog walk turn into a drag, try a change of scene. Surrey Life has sniffed out the county’s top dog walks for you and your pet to explore

Read more
Monday, February 26, 2018

We pick some of the best events and performances going on across Surrey in March 2018

Read more
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Enjoy this easy 2.5 mile (4 km) walk around this picturesque heathland and alpine woodland, close to Guildford

Read more
Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Pack a bottle of Champagne, wrap up warm and escape outdoors to one of these romantic Surrey escapes this month...

Read more

Horley’s townsfolk are so keen on their Surrey heritage that there was uproar in the 1970s when boundary changes suggested the town should become part of West Sussex. We love it for its independent cafés and close proximity to the airport

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

Within London’s ever-changing zeitgeist, different neighbourhoods take turns to define the city’s cultural landscape. And there is no doubt that, right now, the reinvigorated area of Bloomsbury is the place to be – and be seen

Read more
Monday, January 29, 2018

Floral beauty may be scarce in the winter but it is the snowdrop that is the first herald of spring. Displays of these hardy little blooms can last from January through to March. We pick seven of the best places in Surrey to find snowdrops

Read more
Tuesday, January 23, 2018

According to figures from the Office for National Statistics, the Mole Valley is one of the happiest districts in Surrey. The region is also home to some of the most rural and beautiful villages in the county. We pick 8 of the prettiest places to live in the Mole Valley

Read more

Located at the tripoint with Hampshire and West Sussex, Haslemere has always been a fiercely independent Surrey town and harbours a number of surprising hidden gems. Visit and you’ll soon see what has, through the ages, inspired writers, artists and residents alike

Read more
Monday, January 1, 2018

Surrey villages are some of the most beautiful in Britain – think red-bricked cottages, cosy pubs, village greens and picture-worthy streets. We picked 14 of the prettiest Surrey villages to live.

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search