Our New Girl
Time Out says
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As the last in the very long line of satirical middle-class comedies programmed by Josie Rourke during her tenure as Bush artistic director, 'Our New Girl' might not be the work Rourke's now-concluded west London reign will be remembered for. But it's a bright note to go out on: cutting, well acted, quintessential Rourke-era Bush.
Nancy Harris's play is about three individuals who are deluding themselves. Pregnant and stressed, stay- at-home mum Hazel (Kate Fleetwood) believes she needs to compensate for giving up her career by running a faintly insane olive oil import business from her kitchen.
Her oleaginous plastic surgeon husband Richard (Mark Bazeley) believes his voluntary work in the developing world absolves him of other moral responsibilities. And new nanny Annie (Denise Gough) believes in the myth of Richard's sainthood.
To some extent they deserve each other; the problem is they're supposed to be looking out for Daniel (played uncomfortably well on press night by Jonathan Teale), Hazel and Richard's bright but troubled young son who is sliding off the rails without a responsible adult to stop him.
Fleetwood is the linchpin of Charlotte Gwinner's production. In the first half she offers up an exquisitely funny study in yummy-mummy awfulness: the passive aggression she manages to channel into the word 'sausages' when Annie quizzes her on Daniel's diet is magnificent. In the second half she brings a belated moral compass to proceedings, the only adult finally to realise that parenthood means putting your child first.
It's left to Bazeley's Richard to provide most of the second half comedy, which may prove the sticking point for some audiences: his smarmy self-righteousness is completely overegged, but it is also very funny.
'Our New Girl' unerringly skewers familiar territory: a middle-class, middle-youth brand of selfishness. It's all very amusing, but Harris and Gwinner are unafraid of pushing on and showing the real emotional trauma that parental frivolity can cause.
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