The Break-up Autopsy
Reviewed – 30th October 2018
“delivered on its promise of an hour of black comedy”
The Break-up Autopsy opens slap bang in the middle of a very messy situation. Dee (Larissa Pinkham), is sat by a window throwing book after book out onto the street. One of her legs is dangling over the frame, marinara has spilt across the front of her dress and she is howling as if her life depended on it. Steven Jeram’s character Alex stands by helplessly, shirt adorned with the same red stains, while Yasmin (Anna Christian) and Jake (Hraban Luyat), look in from the outside.
The play dissects the relationship of Dee and Alex. From meet-cute to present day, Alex’s step-sister Yasmin and Dee’s best-friend Jake force the couple to confront their dysfunctional history and show them the many times they could have broken up in a less dramatic fashion. However, how the characters related to each other is a point which was not clear to me until we were already half-way through. I thought the scene was set beautifully and I very quickly picked up on the personalities of all involved, I particularly enjoyed Anna Christian’s portrayal of motherly exasperation and the way Steven Jeram wove Alex’s dangerously manipulative nice guy net, but I ached for a bit of background information. For a long time, I had the four down as being old friends from school or university.
A little more about the characters would have also made for an easier ending. Which, without wanting to give anything away, felt like a struggle to tie everyone into the relationship. A valiant effort, but too late to give it a lasting impact.
The Break-Up Autopsy delivered on its promise of an hour of black comedy. I commend it more, however, for the sharp changes from one scene unfolding to a documentary style play-by-play of the couples’ best moves; a feat which could not have been pulled off without the cast’s impeccable timing and quick shifts of energy in their performance.
The production was a definite mood changer, worthy of every laugh and the applause it received.
Reviewed by Alexandra Wilbraham
The Break-up Autopsy
Etcetera Theatre until 4th November
Previously reviewed at this venue: