Play

Hello/Goodbye, Hampstead Theatre

It’s a new year. And Juliet, young, smart, and sassy has got herself a fresh start in a new flat. But there’s a problem: amidst the boxes, a strange guy is also moving in – and he won’t leave. He says the agency has messed up and her flat is actually his flat. As if that’s not enough, the real problem is that, well, he’s rather gorgeous…

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One of Matt’s Freebie Five is Miranda Raison so when I discovered from reading Vicky’s blog (if you want excellent reviews on theatre in London it’s a one stop shop!) that she was currently performing in Hello/Goodbye I text him to see if he was interested in going with only one problem – it was so late in the run the show was finishing that Saturday. Luckily he was free so I booked us two tickets for the final performance.

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The Hampstead is a great little theatre just steps from Swiss Cottage station and has two stages; upstairs and downstairs. Hello/Goodbye actually ran for a season downstairs last year before being given a second run upstairs this time round.It’s another one of those theatres where the stage is in the middle with seats at either side, or in this case on three sides, which I’m actually starting to prefer as you have a better view of what’s going on. While quite a simple set up I was blown away by the attention to detail and even more so during the interval when they completely tore the thing apart and made it look completely different. I was in awe at the precision of the changeover by the cast and crew.

The concept of the show is quite simple and effective; it follows the first and last hour of a relationship that comes quite literally from nowhere. With a cast of just four actors the two leads are basically on stage for the entire duration with a quick appearance by one of the other two supporting cast members in each half. The dialogue is very sharp and witty and has you laughing right from the get-go and here’s quite a bit of swearing, as you would expect if you just walked into your new apartment to find someone else moving in! But it’s the chemistry between the two main cast that makes it; Miranda Raison as Juliet and Shaun Evans as Alex really play off of each other and seem to have a whale of a time while doing so.

At £35 per ticket shows upstairs at the Hampstead theatre aren’t cheap and I can think of other more prominent plays that are about the same price and probably better value (The Railway Children for one) although if you’re under 30 you can get a reduced ticket for just £15 which I wish I’d known about before booking mine! That said though this was an incredibly joyous trip to the theatre and if it returns I would definitely be recommending it to people.

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