The Man On Her Mind

2 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
(2user reviews)
The Man On Her Mind
© Sheila Burnett

There are faults enough with Alan Hruska's new romantic comedy about two young Manhattan loners who create imaginary lovers for fear of involvement and rejection.

But enjoyment of Bruce Guthrie's sitcom-esque production will largely hinge on your tolerance for Brits who play Americans by baring their molars, gesticulating with their eyebrows and pretending the wind has changed at the end of every sentence. Cast members Amy McAllister and Samuel James's facial acting is so alarmingly vigorous that, when they start talking about 'needing more space', you suspect it's for their expressions.

Alone in her weeny memory box of an apartment, Nellie (McAllister) dreams up Jack (James) to keep her frisky company on the sofa. Jack bears an uncanny resemblance to Leonard, a ghostwriter whose attentions Nellie is avoiding, and who has consequently imagined his own very familiar companion.

When they finally embark on a real relationship, Nellie and Leonard realise the 'comfortable' life they've assembled together (designer Emma Bailey's clever but time-consuming sliding set goes effectively to town with showroom beige) doesn't feel very genuine either. As Nellie's conventional sister and brother-in-law observe in one of a few sparky lines, 'You put on our lifestyle like a Halloween mask'.

There's an interesting point in here about whether we aren't all serial fantasists when it comes to romance, and whether coupledom isn't inherently phoney. But the ironic parallels slot together like flat pack furniture, Nellie's psychological back story doesn't wash and the wafty supernatural ending is very silly indeed.

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Average User Rating

4.5 / 5

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I really couldn't disagree more with Bella Todd's unfavourable review. I thought this play was very good. The writing is very crisp and accurate, and the actors' delivery is spot on (especially the two leads). The story is intriguing and the whole business about the stage set works well. I thought it an amusing and absorbing evening and would recommend it.


It was excellent. So refreshing to find this classic romantic comedy on stage nowadays! It reminded me so much of the old Hollywood classics: picture Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and James Stewart in one of their witty and charming plots. The script was funny and quick and the acting was superb. Really talented actors for comedy, especially Samuel James. The stage design also made the best of the limited possibilities of a small place, and turned out to be part of the comedy as well! :) The choice of soundtrack was excellent too, again the classics, they really set you just in the right light mood. This play and performances renewed my hope in true talent and theatre. Excellent choice for a classy, unpretentiously happy evening out.