The Paradigm Theatre Company opens their repertoire season with “The Inappropriateness of Love” written by Sarah Pitard and directed by Cat Robey. Paradigm’s aim is to create work without boundaries and Pitard’s writing fits the bill.
In Pitard’s latest offering, she gives us an Anglo-American cast of characters who are intertwined in a never-ending search for true love. Scooter (Jonathan West) is a computer geek in therapy who’s looking for love and a date to a friend’s wedding. He’s a good kid who makes the occasional phone call to his Mother (Gilly Daniels), shows up for work but like all the other characters in this play, he’s a bit lost. He falls for his therapist Jessica (Cheska Moon) who is a divorced mom and ex to Darren (Mark Arnold) an American silver fox executive. Darren is having an affair with his wacky receptionist and aspiring actress Stephanie (Phoebe Batteson-Brown). We can’t forget sweet Zoey (Lee Lytle) who is Scooter’s best friend and a budding archaeologist.
The Hen and Chickens’ lovely black box theatre is the setting for the story and the set is simple. Tables and chairs are moved around between scenes transforming the set from the therapist’s studio to a restaurant. The dialogue is witty and as a Yank myself, I appreciated the accusation Scooter makes of Jessica, when he says she sounds like one of those American pharmaceutical TV ads when declaring that he “has chosen to do something about his mental health”.
West is strong with great comic timing but not only. After confessing his feelings to his therapist, he gets a most inconvenient phone call from his mother and I truly could feel his angst when he puts the phone down to shout “I’m an idiot!!”. Another standout performance was Phoebe Batteson-Brown, as the slutty secretary in a dead end job. Her exchanges with Mark Arnold in the beginning were peppy and she also displayed great comedic flare. I wanted to see more of Lee Lytle’s character Zoey, as I enjoyed how grounded she seemed one minute and kind of crazy the next. Lytle is an expressive actor and knows how to use her expressiveness to her advantage.
I think Director Cat Robey nailed the timing of the overlapping dialogues which could be found throughout the play. It helped to solidify the synchronicity of the lives of these different people. “The Inappropriateness of Love” has characters and situations which are relatable and recognisable. Love is not easy and I believe we could all understand Stephanie, when she says she would like to be oblivious to the pain of it all.
The Inappropriateness of Love is on until 29 September at the Hen & Chickens Theatre, 109 St Pauls Road, N1 2NA
Tickets are available at 0207 704 2001 for £12 (£10 concessions).