Summer in London
Theatre Royal, Stratford East
Reviewed – Tuesday 18th July
“A zany, madcap, rom-com”
Rikki Beadle-Blair’s Summer in London begins with four young men falling hopelessly in love with the same woman. Summer is “every woman”, even Bette Davis, and strides onto the stage resplendent in a huge red tutu. Each vows to win her heart, with one date each, the best date in London that money can’t buy. That fact is crucial because all of the men are, incidentally, homeless.
Photography by Sharron Wallace
In this play, billed as mainstream theatre’s first show with an all trans cast, the laughs come thick and fast. The zany, madcap rom-com plot zips along on a tumult of hilarious quips (on the heatwave engulfing the capital: “This is England. It could snow this afternoon”) and inventive staging. This includes a boat in the shape of a swan being propelled onto the stage as if punted like a gondola. It has heart, joy and pathos too: the sadness in the characters’ pasts and current situations is touched on, lightly enough that the plot is not dragged down, but the scenes aren’t rushed over either.
The large ensemble cast is uniformly excellent and every actor has razor-sharp comic timing. Kamari Romeo was a firm crowd favourite as the “chirpsing” Ryoko but the script is expansive enough to give every actor their chance to shine.
The play is as bright and brash as the characters’ primary coloured costumes and sweeps up song, dance and wicked jokes in its giddy rush. A must-see.
Reviewed by Alice Gray
SUMMER IN LONDON
is at Theatre Royal, Stratford East until 29th July