Kicking off her last season as Artistic Director, Emma Rice has taken the French – Belgian film Les Émotifs Anonymes and adapted it into a stunning musical alongside music and lyrics by Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond. The show follows two socially awkward, anxious people as they navigate their way in the world through self help tapes, group therapy and lots of chocolate.
This brand new musical is the first musical to play the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at The Globe and it is a fantastic one to start off with. Kooman & Dimond’s beautiful and whimsical score go hand in hand with Emma Rice’s fairytale-esque narrative in her sublime book and direction of the show. Because the theatre is small, the show feels very immersive and invites the audience to be part of the show. Right before the show started, the ensemble hand out chocolate to the audience which we were only allowed to eat after given the signal.
Carly Bawden and Dominic Marsh lead the cast as Angélique and Jean-René with gorgeous voices and inhabit a couple worth rooting for. Both actors perform with such tender care for their characters and it shines through their performances. The ensemble is filled with brilliant musical theatre performers including Lauren Samuels, Joanna Riding and Natasha Jayetileke. I must add, the entire ensemble are absolute masters at the quick changes. I’d blink and suddenly their characters would have changed, particularly in a fast moving Act One.
The beautiful set design by Lez Brotherston transforms from a chocolate shop to a restaurant to a hotel room with minimal props and yet manages to completely inhabit you into the space. The gorgeous neon lights by Malcolm Rippeth further enhanced this, making the set all the more effective.
Overall, Romantics Anonymous is a breath of fresh air in British musical theatre. It is like a good piece of chocolate; sweet, joyous and delightful. It is a particularly charming and funny show that adds an extra layer of humour by how completely self aware it is. I highly, highly recommend seeing it while you can. I doubt it will be a while before a show like this is in London again.
Romantics Anonymous is currently playing in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at The Globe until 6th January. For tickets and more information please visit http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/romantics-anonymous
Until next time,