Review by Julia Pattison: What’s In A Name? at Grand Opera House, York

What's In A Name? is at Grand Opera House until Saturday, October 12.
What's In A Name? is at Grand Opera House until Saturday, October 12.

Play: What’s In A Name?

Venue: Grand Opera House, York

Dates: Until Saturday October 12

Review by: Julia Pattison

This very funny French farce, written by Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patelliere, translated and adapted brilliantly by Jeremy Sams is a little gem of a play on at the Grand Opera House for one week only, and sparkles brightly.

Think Alan Ayckbourn, with shades of John Godber, and Abigail’s Party, and you’ll get the idea…

Instead of being set in Paris, this adaptation was set in a flat in Peckham, where couple Elizabeth (Laura Patch) and Peter (Bo Poraj) were throwing a small dinner party. Elizabeth’s brother and Peter’s best friend Vincent (Joe Thomas) and his pregnant wife Anna (Louise Marwood) were the guests, along with their long-term friend Carl (Alex Gaumond).

Joe Thomas commanded the space from the moment he strutted onto the stage, and made a wonderfully compelling narrator, before taking on the role of Vincent with panache. His wife Anna was running late, and a situation began to simmer as Vincent announced gleefully that he’d chosen to name their baby Adolphe, the French equivalent of Adolf; feelings ran high, and by the time Anna arrived everyone was at loggerheads.

The characters were very well drawn, and little by little we got to know more about each one, until finally peacemaker Elizabeth exploded, expressing years of frustration and resentment that she’d kept buried over the years. Laura Patch earned a spontaneous round of applause for her rant on the evening I saw this play, her words obviously striking a chord with many wives and mothers in the audience!

Skeletons come out of cupboards, and the social veneer of politeness was ripped away like a plaster.

A pacey and witty play well worth seeing.