<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">
CHRISTMAS OFFER 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

Friday, December 8, 2017

Enjoy Surrey all year...

Read more
Monday, December 4, 2017

Guildford Fringe Theatre Company is back again with another risqué panto strictly for the over 18s from the Back Room of the Star Inn.

Read more
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Enjoy a delightful two mile heath and woodland walk around this country park, which recently achieved the highest rating from Natural England. A must for all the family – both two and four-legged!

Read more
Monday, November 20, 2017

Surrey is a county full of festive delights. Think cosy pubs, frosty views and long winter walks. We pick 22 wonderful reasons to spend Christmas in Surrey.

Read more
Monday, November 6, 2017

Surrey is England’s most wooded county and the Surrey Hills boasts almost 40 per cent woodland cover. These woodlands hide a wealth of archaeological features. We pick some of the best woodland walks to explore

Read more
Sunday, November 5, 2017

Surrey has been used as a film location for many a blockbuster movie and the county’s hotels, woods and villages are no stranger to visits from the Hollywood A-list. Here’s just a few of the movies that have been, at least in part, filmed in Surrey

Read more

Head to the far east of the county and you’ll find a charming town with a big personality set at the foot of the North Downs

Read more
Monday, October 23, 2017

Foxhills Club & Resort is in the running for a prestigious national prize, after being shortlisted in two categories for the third consecutive year in the National Fitness Awards

Read more
Sunday, October 15, 2017

Thirty years ago, the face of Surrey changed almost beyond recognition as The Great Storm ripped through the county, felling over a million trees and leaving a terrific trail of destruction in their wake.

Read more
Monday, October 9, 2017

With Halloween just around the corner, we bring you the definitive guide to Surrey’s most haunted places. Warning! Many of these spooky stories, which date back centuries, are historically/geographically inaccurate, but can still be investigated with a sense of fun…

Read more
Sunday, October 8, 2017

Living in England’s most densely wooded county, it’s always a pleasure to witness Surrey donning its autumn finery. Here’s some of the best places to do just that - plus a few pub pit stops to enjoy on route!

Read more
Thursday, October 5, 2017

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.

Read more
Monday, October 2, 2017

A national or international awareness day or week is a date usually set by a major organisation to commemorate a public health, tourism or ethical cause.

Read more

Its royal connections are rife – it was the place of coronations in Saxon times and it borders one of the country’s most famous royal parks – this month we visit the riverside market town of Kingston-upon-Thames

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Surrey Life Application Link

Local Business Directory

Surrey's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search