Review by Jack Foley
THE bravado of man is ruthlessly exposed as both naive and hopelessly
destructive in Neil LaBute's biting new comedy, Some Girl(s),
at the West End's Gielgud Theatre.
David Schwimmer stars as a writer known simply as the Man, who
resolves to revisit four of his most significant ex-girlfriends
in hotel rooms around America just before he marries an unseen
At first, his motives are unclear, coming over as awkward as
the reunions themselves, given that he claims to be 'making amends'
for the sins of his past - or rather the ability to walk out on
a relationship just when it gets interesting.
Yet this is clearly not the reason for the 'torture' he puts
himself, and his women, through, exposing old wounds as he attempts
to discover whether his marriage really is 'the right thing'.
Is one of the women he has arranged to meet really the one that
got away? The one true woman he loved and lost?
And is it too late to 'make amends' and prevent himself making
Given that this is a Neil LaBute play (the writer behind In
The Company of Men and The Shape of Things), the
answers don't come easy and there is a price to be paid for such
The women in question are all brilliantly-drawn characters who
have clearly been rocked by their encounter with 'the man'.
First up, there's Catherine Tate's 'happily married' Sam, his
college sweetheart who suddenly found herself rejected with no
Schwimmer's presence exposes buried feelings and Tate quickly
emerges as someone who was forever changed (and shaped) by the
man's rejection, even though she manages to turn the tables on
him slightly during their confrontation.
Next up is Sara Powell's Tyler, a
hip, sexually-liberated dope-smoker who allowed 'the man' to indulge
his sexual fantasies, even though she was aware he may still have
been in love with someone else.
And then there's Lesley Manville's Lindsay, an older woman and
fellow teacher, with whom he 'enjoyed' an illicit affair, until
her husband found out and he fled with only a phone call by way
of an explanation.
Finally, there's Saffron Burrows' Bobbi, an intelligent, sophisticated
nurse, who may be the real reason for 'the man's' journey.
All deliver convincing, even exceptional performances as the
scorned women in question (Powell emerging as the stand-out),
playing well off Schwimmer's anxious attempts to seek answers
for himself during those final, nervous days of bachelorhood.
The irony is that for all of the man's smooth-talking bravado,
he is actually just an awkward, insecure male, desperate to validate
the choices he has made, no matter how pathetic it makes him seem.
Schwimmer, for his part, makes the transition seemlessly, switching
from the amiable loner we first see to someone altogether more
slippery and unsympathetic.
Yes, there are elements of his TV creation, Ross Geller (in Friends),
but they merely serve as a smoke-screen to the real deal, and
each encounter succeeds in stripping away (sometimes literally)
another layer of his persona, exposing the bravado he frequently
refers to for the folly that it is.
With LaBute's barbed script to guide him, it makes for a fascinating,
even provocative night at the theatre, and one that is certain
to provide plenty of food for thought afterwards.
At a little over 80 minutes, it's a sharp, incisive piece that
marks a triumphant debut for Schwimmer in the West End.
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