CUPPERS: If Romeo Were a Bit of a Nob (Hilda's)

Wed 7th November 2012

reviews

Thea Bradbury

at 09:35 on 10th Nov 2012

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The title really tells you all you need to know about St Hilda's Cuppers entry: this is Romeo and Juliet, but not the kind your English tutor would approve of. In fact, it's less about undying love than the need to find someone to get off with on Saturday night. There's a foulmouthed poetry to many of the lines, as the play's tagline proves - 'I'm a geeky rabbit caught in the blinding headlights of beauty and sexual attraction - I'm not thinking rationally!' - and although it ultimately proves patchy, 'If Romeo were a bit of a knob' does provide some sweet and funny moments amongst the profanity.

The play follows a would-be Casanova through a break-up, but it's hard to sympathise when it's obvious from the start that he is indeed something of a dick. The audience's sympathies are instead engaged by his nerdy friend and foil (Dominic O'Keefe), a character too charmingly hapless to even ask a girl out. While the bulk of the play is taken up by our modern Romeo's girl problems, the sweetest moment comes at the end, when his friend finally - and successfully - plucks up the courage to begin a relationship.

However, while its vignettes are witty, 'If Romeo Were a Bit of a Knob's portrayal of gender relations is largely clichéd, and many of the characters - from the gay best friend to the overbearing mother - are outright stereotypes. In addition, the script's continual breaking-the-fourth-wall asides, while initially a good device, begin to drag a little by the middle of the play. The problem, like the plot, is in the title: this Romeo is a knob, and as such it's hard to care about the problems that drive the play.

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