Connect with us

Theatre

REVIEW: Charlotte and Theodore at Cambridge Arts Theatre

Published

on

This is a grown-up play. It is a play for today. It is funny, it is wise and the performances are a masterclass in theatre.

Kris Marshall as Theodore and Eve Ponsonby as Charlotte are stunning in this fast-paced, hard-argued, gripping two-hander which relies on authority as well as immaculate comic timing.

Ryan Craig’s new play, crisply directed by award-winner Terry Johnson, has academics Lottie and Teddy tearing each other apart in the culture wars.

Charlotte&Theodore_standing Kris Marshall_Teddy_Eve Ponsonby_Lotty_6_©Alastair Muir (1)

When we first meet them they are married with two young children. Flying off to a conference, she reminds him to limit their four-year-old son’s time on the iPad. There is a problem Teddy confesses as Lottie is about to pick up her laptop bag.

Their son Jack has been waving his penis around in class. He tells the teacher: “It’s my social construct.” That’s what having two parents in a university philosophy department does.

We see the couple back and forth over a decade. In an early scene, spirited, forceful and charming, Charlotte talks her way into a job as his research assistant.

In another she is bitterly disappointed that the university has banned a right-wing speaker, she was looking forward to demolishing him in argument – leaving him bleeding on the floor.

She says it’s a matter of free speech. But free speech can never be absolute, Theodore says. We must adapt our thinking and limit our freedoms.

Charlotte&Theodore_Kris Marshall_Teddy_©Alastair Muir

All through the play, each argues a separate case. At times they reverse platforms – but each time so fine is the writing that always – they are both right. Nobody loses, nobody wins.

Or do they? As her career overtakes his, she – razor sharp in mind and dress – is better at manoeuvring round the intellectual fashions of the day.

He is lost in all the righteousness. He goes to a workshop where the students demand waving instead of clapping and each announces their preferred pronouns (she/her, he/him, they/them).

He is mortified at their uniformity, at their insistence. “How can you encourage diversity with all this conformity?” he cries.

But then again, if we are to change thousands of years of convention, don’t we need to do it with strength? We don’t have to decide.

All we have to do is revel in a hugely entertaining evening at the theatre, seeing a rivetingly accomplished pair of actors perform a refreshing new work, written for us and written for now.

The audience held its breath.

 

Facebook

Read More

Peterborough First celebrate after the recent city council election PHOTO: Terry Harris Peterborough First celebrate after the recent city council election PHOTO: Terry Harris
News47 mins ago

OPINION: Peterborough City Council ‘in a better place than it was and ready to progress’

Crowds to flock to Nene Park on Saturday and Sunday for Peterborough Celebrates Festival

Mayor Cllr Val Fendley “I am in no way promising any change to what has been implemented, that is most definitely not within my gift.” But she will listen to concerns over the 20mph limit. Mayor Cllr Val Fendley “I am in no way promising any change to what has been implemented, that is most definitely not within my gift.” But she will listen to concerns over the 20mph limit.
News2 hours ago

Protestor told to leave, and meeting suspended as Ramsey town council caught off guard by 20mph revolt

Town council at the time voted 8 in favour and 5 against 20mph

Stephen Moir says the Fenland chief executive Paul Medd (above) is simply wrong when he claims, in a report to be discussed by Fenland councillors next week, that the board must include a Cambridgeshire County Council member based within Fenland. Stephen Moir says the Fenland chief executive Paul Medd (above) is simply wrong when he claims, in a report to be discussed by Fenland councillors next week, that the board must include a Cambridgeshire County Council member based within Fenland.
News5 hours ago

County council puts its ‘tanks’ on Fenland’s lawns in row over £20m spending plans for Wisbech

'Councillor Tierney has not been nominated or appointed by this authority to act on this council’s behalf'

Cllr Stephen Ferguson says he has Labour Party members support for him to stand as an independent candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire constituency Cllr Stephen Ferguson says he has Labour Party members support for him to stand as an independent candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire constituency
News19 hours ago

Labour woes tempt Ferguson to stand as Independent candidate in St Neots

'I have some serious thinking to do' says Cllr Stephen Ferguson

Rt Hon Chloe Smith MP keynote speech to Eastern Powerhouse Conference in Cambridge today. Rt Hon Chloe Smith MP keynote speech to Eastern Powerhouse Conference in Cambridge today.
News1 day ago

OPINION: Four things important in how the East and its people will succeed: Investment, Talent, Technology, Resilience.

The journey ahead for the Eastern Powerhouse, and the region we lead, is a demanding one

Cooking up a storm: Marianna Masters who has been selected by Labour as their Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire Cooking up a storm: Marianna Masters who has been selected by Labour as their Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire
News1 day ago

Labour ‘fury’ as Huntingdonshire members excluded from election candidate choice

Labour choice for St Neots 'incredibly undemocratic'

James Palmer (left) opening today’s Eastern Powerhouse conference in Cambridge and (right) Mayor Dr Nik Johnson visiting Middle Level Commissioners ahead of a tour of the St German's pumping station. James Palmer (left) opening today’s Eastern Powerhouse conference in Cambridge and (right) Mayor Dr Nik Johnson visiting Middle Level Commissioners ahead of a tour of the St German's pumping station.
News1 day ago

James Palmer and Nik Johnson show there is more to unite than divide them

Both believe Cambridgeshire has massive potential still to unlock for jobs and growth

Ashley Baker, 41, subjected his partner to a barrage of abuse and controlling behaviour, including making her call him during her lunchbreak from work every day and forbidding her from going to the canteen Ashley Baker, 41, subjected his partner to a barrage of abuse and controlling behaviour, including making her call him during her lunchbreak from work every day and forbidding her from going to the canteen
News2 days ago

Doddington control freak Ashley Baker jailed for 7-year abuse of his partner

He controlled all aspects of her everyday life

Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA and Government – to transform the quality of grassroots facilities in England by delivering projects like this across the country. Robert Sullivan, Chief Executive of the Football Foundation, said: “The Football Foundation is working closely with our partners – the Premier League, The FA and Government – to transform the quality of grassroots facilities in England by delivering projects like this across the country.
News2 days ago

£1m grant will provide Stadia 3G pitch at Wisbech St Mary 

The new Fenland pitch will serve as a catalyst for growth

Cllr Marianna Masters, Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire, pictured with London Mayor Sadiq Khan Cllr Marianna Masters, Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambridgeshire, pictured with London Mayor Sadiq Khan
News2 days ago

Lambeth councillor is Parliamentary candidate for St Neots and Mid Cambs

Labour's Marianna Masters is chair of the Fabian Women’s Network