This Much (Or An Act Of Violence Towards The Institution Of Marriage)

Theatre, Drama
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

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This witty look at gay marriage has a wedding disco-worthy playlist

A soundtrack so cheesy it’ll raise your stomach acid levels plays throughout 'This Much'. Think ‘You Can’t Hurry Love’, ‘Love Really Hurts Without You’ et al – the sort of hollow, factory-made pop that people play at weddings. It's been selected with caustic irony, as Royal Court writer John Fitzpatrick's play dissects marriage via a gay love triangle – the perfect prism, since it's an institution that's only recently counted for anything within the community. 

Gar (Lewis Hart) lives in apparent bliss with cleaning-obsessed boyfriend Anthony (Simon Carroll-Jones). Together, they bitch about their straight friends’ weddings and wish their mums were lesbians. But all the while Gar, not yet willing to embrace monogamy, is having an affair with wild kid Albert (Will Alexander). After that, all collapses into emotional breakdowns, displays of seriously reprehensible behaviour – and a bit of willy-waving for good measure.

Props to a brilliant turn by Hart, whose ability to bring a vitality to a character so unlikeable is little short of extraordinary. A standout scene at a funeral epitomises this: he’s wretched, but completely credible. Which is why it’s a shame that the production doesn’t quite knit this ambitiously complex story together. Segues between scenes are needlessly ornate. The plywood box set feels overtly complex (and a later scene where a character starts trashing everything is unconvincing: it’s clear it all needs to be used again for the next performance). Letting the soundtrack do the hard work would have been a better move: never before has Whitney Houston sounded so savage.  

By: Matt Breen

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