Royal Court Theatre – Jerwood Theatre Downstairs, Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS
The Royal Court Theatre marks its fiftieth anniversary year with Stella Feehily's second play. For the uninitiated, O Go My Man is an anagram of ‘monogamy’ and this irrelevant but quirky fact should go some way to telling you what this play is about.
Feehly takes a familiar subject, but presents it in a totally different and somewhat refreshing way. Set in present-day Dublin, she introduces us to Neil (Ewan Stewart), a television reporter struggling to re-integrate into domesticity. Back from a harrowing time in Darfur, he ends his 15-year marriage to Zoe (Aoife McMahon) because of an extra-curricular relationship with actress Sarah (Susan Lynch) who tours a hip hop version of Alice in Wonderland and is fed up after having spent what she believes to be a meaningless decade with Ian (Paul Hickey). In one lengthy emotional attack on Ian, she sums up her exasperation for her former lover: “If I'm going to struggle all my life I don't want it to be with you”.
Feehily paints a painful picture of modern relationships, which seem to have reached a state of pleasure-seeking madness. This is highlighted through the outbursts of Alice (Mossie Smith), a Polish immigrant who views the couples with disdain.
Unfortunately what begins as a bleak look at the nature of relationships of the 21st century, changes in the second half into farce when the partners whom Neil and Sarah leave behind console themselves through ruthless revenge. This is a shame because initially it appeared that Feehily had something vital to say about this subject.
Despite this, her writing is funny and witty and under Max Stafford-Clark's fast and slick direction, the production, presented by Out of Joint Theatre Company, provides an entertaining evening. The superb performances add to Feehily's comments on monogamy, fame and sex (on press night, Jude Law was seated two rows in front of me – one can only wonder what he made of this). I never thought I’d say it, but Feehily et al have made me realise that being a singleton has its pluses.
Director: Max Stafford-Clark
Opened: 17th January 2006
Closing: 11th February 2006