What’s in a Name? Review

Richmond Theatre, Richmond – until Saturday 16 November 2019

Reviewed by Riley Anderson


From Paris to Peckham, Jeremy Sams (translator and adapter) had deftly adapted the original french play Le Prénom into a wonderfully colloquial British comedy drama. Set in Peter (Bo Poraj) and Elizabeth’s (Laura Patch) stylish Peckham home, South East London, we are instantly welcomed as spectators to delight in 90 minutes of riotous comedy drama with characters that may seem all too familiar.

Vincent (Joe Thomas) is the cocksure provocateur, who initiates the drama by announcing that he and his wife Anna (Summer Strallen) are going to call their unborn son Adolf, or more precisely Adolphe. What begins as an intellectual debate as to why they cannot name their son after the ‘Führer’ soon spirals into a hysterically chaotic dinner party in which, more than couscous and tagine get spilt.

Amidst the mayhem, Carl (Alex Gaumond) is often more in the know than the other characters, and is probably the only character who enjoys the meal and takes a great deal of pleasure in watching the drama unfold, chipping in with the occasional hilarious one-liner. That is until the spotlight turns to him and his modesty is confronted by Vincents flamboyance, it makes for a highly entertaining sparring match, and the features of Joe Thomas, with which we have become so accustomed, work wonderfully for the character.

The combination of the ego pricking and pace of the piece really make for the comedy, and the cast didn’t let the ball drop, especially in the second half, when most of the reveals take place. The drama ultimately resolves itself with Elizabeth (Laura Patch), who after endlessly running around, getting the meal prepared, putting the kids to bed, puts everyone in their place with a monologue that I’m sure many wives and mothers would relish the opportunity to deliver