You can’t go to London and not go to the theatre. At least, I can’t. Unfortunately, since I was working so much during this trip, it was hard to break away and get out in the evening; usually I was pretty exhausted by the time I returned to the hotel.
However, during our last few days in London, my wife and I did get a chance to catch Some Girl(s) at the Gielgud Theatre. (Coincidentally, I’ve seen several plays here in the past.)
I wanted to see Some Girl(s) because it was written by Neil LaBute, not because it was starring David Schwimmer.
I don’t really have an opinion on Schwimmer one way or the other. On one hand, he is a founding member of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company, which is decidedly cool. On the other hand, he was on Friends, which is decidedly not. But I’m a big fan of Labute’s film work (In the Company of Men, Your Friends and Neighbors, Nurse Betty) so I figured this would be worth a trip… seats in London can be had pretty cheap.
Without going into all the details, the play centers around a nameless “Man” who is about to get married and is revisiting some of his past relationships, which ended badly (or did they?) in some sort of last ditch soul-searching exercise. I don’t want to give away anything about the play, so I’ll stop there. The female cast members were all quite good, although each of their characters felt a little stereotyped to me… not a lot of dimension, although, that seems to have been deliberate for serving the purpose of the visits.
Schwimmer was, well, as far as I can tell, Schwimmer. I’ve only seen one or two episodes of Friends. It seems to be one of those shows that people say, “oh, it’s better than you think, you just have to watch and get to know the characters.” So I try, and I see an episode that, evidently, wouldn’t be so downright stupid if I “knew the characters” and give up. Only to try again later and end up seeing a re-run of the same episode. Or is it? Anyway, as far as I can tell, the character development of “Man” in Some Girl(s) is a little too close for comfort to the Ross character
Schwimmer played on Friends. The character is a shlub. Likable enough, but still kind of a whiny shlub. Which Schwimmer does play well, but you never get past Schwimmer into believing the shlub. (Unlike the amazing Matt Malloy, who in In the Company of Man takes shlub to a whole new level, opposite the equally talented Aaron Eckhart… but I digress.)
Overall, not a bad night out at the theatre, but I wouldn’t expect Some Girl(s) to make it out of the West End. It felt a little like a piece that was being work shopped, and still had a way to go.