Ever since I was small, I’ve loved the theatre. As an adult and a parent of three, I still relish those rare evenings where I can escape life to see a show. Whether it’s a play with a serious political message, a laugh-out-loud comedy, or a sparkly evening at a musical – the theatre offers so much to us all.
Personally, I don’t think it matters what I go to watch or whether it is something I am interested in. For me, it’s more about the magic of it all. Sitting in a darkened room with hundreds of other people, and being taken on a journey through clever scenery, lighting, effects, and of course acting and song. It’s how, as an audience, we can sit and witness something more real and exciting than live television, and more immersive than a book – there’s nothing like it.
Theatre can also be very thought-provoking, and can be a really powerful tool in getting an important message across. The amount of times I’ve walked out of a play so emotionally charged by what I’ve seen is uncountable. It’s not everyone’s game of cricket of course, but I really enjoy being left with something to think about and discuss, and I really engage with productions that give me new perspectives.
Last night, I went to see God of Carnage at Rugby Theatre and it certainly did just that. It was a play I knew I could relate to (parents fighting over their kids fighting!), but as it was billed as a comedy, I wasn’t sure it would be a favourite of mine. You see, I have this problem with comedy. It either tries too hard to be hilarious and fails miserably, or jokes are played down and missed. Thankfully, God of Carnage did neither of the above and was an absolute triumph.
The story is set inside the New York apartment of the couple (Michael and Veronica Novak) who’s child has had his teeth knocked out by another child in the playground. The other child’s parents (Alan and Annette Raleigh) have come round to discuss the situation as civilised adults.
As lights come up on the opening scene, we are reminded of the current moral state of the world, as a flurry of news bulletins are heard. The scene then begins to unfold and we are party to that awkward situation we can all relate to – the niceties and fake smiles put on to appease others (Think Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney in Catastrophe-style awkwardness).
As coffee and cake, give way to rum, the Jeremy Kyle-esque dispute grows out of proportion (as these things often do) and emotions run amok as the men gang up on the women, then the women go at the men, then the couples briefly switch loyalties with their partners and all sorts of hilarious chaos happens!
We end up with four characters who are nothing like they first appeared to be, and as boundaries are crossed, the comedy becomes increasingly relatable. I was physically bursting into loud laughter as the ridiculousness continued, because I could actually see these four characters as a very real reflection of the problems we all face as a society. We’ve all found ourselves frustrated as someone constantly interrupts conversation with their phone, or at someone’s inability to let anything go without an argument. The characters really pushed my buttons and whilst I found it hilarious, I left thinking differently about my own reactions if I ever find myself caught in a dispute like this.
We’re really lucky in Rugby to have this wonderful, NODA Award-Winning Amateur theatre and last night it was at its absolute best. Real, relatable characters portrayed by talented actors. Excellent scenic design – pared-back, ultramodern and simple, bringing us right up to 2017 and making way for the story to build its own colour. Clever special effects (who can forget the vomit!), colour-coded costume and brilliantly accurate props.
If you love comedy shows like Catastrophe, you’ll love God of Carnage. Why not take a #parentpause this week and have a night off with a difference. To book your tickets call the box office on 01788 541234 or book online at www.rugbytheatre.co.uk
This is not a sponsored post and the opinions are my own.