Hampstead Theatre – until 29th January 2022
Reviewed by Emily Cliff
What is a play? A question that was frequently asked throughout the first act of Alan Platers Peggy For You. But when we look into it, the question kind of stumps us all really. What is a play – well it is something we use as an escape, for us critics it’s work, a living and for agents, it’s all they live and breathe. Theatre whisks us away and takes us to somewhere else, and when it comes down to the nitty-gritty a play is just a collection of words designed to do just that – Peggy for you does that brilliantly.
The play takes place in an agents office in the space of a day, giving us insight into the fast pleased life that is ‘showbiz’. Brilliantly chaotic, our leading lady Peggy portrayed by Tamsin Greig delivered the lines with clarity shining a light again on how fast-paced this industry is and how beautifully messy Peggy was as a person.
The first act is funny in all of the right places purely because of how much of the world of Peggy Ramsay is chaos and despite everything everyone lays at her feet. It is not until act two that where we see some tension building up between her clients and the consequences of what happens when you push them to breaking point. Unknowingly blunt, the world revolved around Peggy leading her to give questionable yet hilarious advice.
The second act takes a more dramatic and serious turn. As said before the faced paced world of showbiz can have a tragic effect on some. The life of living fast and dangerously can be too much for some people and as Peggy finds out a beloved client of hers passed away her entire world come crashing down around her. The blunt and harsh words from geordie Henry (portrayed by Trevor Fox) bought her head down from the clouds with a thundering crash to earth.
The show has a fantastic supporting cast, with Danusia Samal portraying the assistant, Tessa, who picks up the pieces and keeps the office turning smoothly – Philip (Portrayed by Jos Vantyler) the golden boy who keeps the cash rolling in with his spectacular plays in the Westend and on Broadway and soon to be client Simon (portayed Josh Finan) is a blissfully unaware new playwright making his world debut in the back of a pub. The characters are all uniquely their own and under the direction of Richard Wilson, gelled and connected intricately on stage.
Overall this play with its all star cast is a brilliant night of theatre. Fantastically chaotic, witty and whimsical it really gets you thinking about what goes on behind closed doors. Why? Because its showbiz darling.