The West Play ‘It’s Not You It’s Me’ took over the VCT for three nights, directed by Sophia Ambrose, Milly Black, Hannah Warner and Gordon Neill. Don Zolidis’s piece, first performed in 2010 in Texas, was slightly adapted for the English audience but retained its American flavour and seemed to me to be in the tradition of shows such as ‘Friends’. The Wednesday audience certainly relished the comic acting and the show was a clever choice to enable a large cast of West girls (eleven) to be paired up with actors from the two twinned Houses.
The opening scene of texting, with the girls then donning hoodies to show a gruffer texting method used by boys, set the tone for an evening far from the madding crowd of literature but in the heart of teenage boy/girl culture. Tattoos; future receding hairlines; fights over the TV remote control; and men’s obsession with sports all featured, along with the ubiquitous title phrase, ‘It’s not you, it’s me’. Georgia Hart as the waitress poured cold water over one of the couples and I am trying hard not to do the same to the dialogue of Mr Zolidis. However, he has published 44 plays which have been produced over 3,000 times in 31 countries; clearly his fan base is growing, and the appreciative VCT audience is testament to that.
My admiration for the actors and directors (and lighting neophytes Nancy Newberry and Sophie Jones) was increased, rather than dimmed by, my feelings about the script, as the acting was good enough to give a packed house multiple laughs and the warm applause at the end was well-deserved. With a cast of 21, all equally stars of the show, it feels unfair to name-check just a few, though Mike Linford might disagree! However, the transvestite performance of Will Marriott as Sarah might have given a few people nightmares. There were some experienced actors on stage but also some new blood whom we hope to see in future plays. Overall it was a pleasure to see so many Cranleighans relishing the opportunity to be involved in a production as fun as this.