The Alexandra, Birmingham – until 14 March 2020, then Nationwide
Reviewed by Joanne Hodge
Joe Thomas is the stand-out star of Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandra de la Patelliere’s comedy What’s In a Name. He captivates the audience from his narrative role through to that of Vincent, the slightly egotistical brother of Elizabeth (Emma Carter) and expectant father to Adolphe … or is he?
This contrived comment forms the basis of a Saturday evening dinner party, which leaves you feeling you had been on the guest list for, rather than an invited, spectator.
Rick Fisher’s lighting, with design by Francis O’Connor, perfectly captured the atmosphere and ambience of Peckham apartment, and the only thing I felt may have added to this would have been some soft, easy-listening tunes played in the background – something I’m sure we all have in case of awkward silences when we have guests for an evening.
That said, it wasn’t a show-stopper, and the lack of this didn’t take away anything from the play.
Perfectly timed one-liners, taking you from stunned silences to raucous laughter, alongside an emotional roller coaster of emotions as opinions, friendships and relationships are tested – this show has it all. Political, satirical, egotistical, emotional and hilarious – I loved it! It seems I wasn’t alone in this opinion, which could be taken from the rapturous applause at the conclusion of the dinner party and standing ovation at the curtain-call.