It’s been a little while since I went to the theatre (City of Angels was my last trip); partly because I’m just not greatly keen on the West End’s current offering and partly because I’m counting the pennies a little bit for the time being. ‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’ (Women on the Verge from here on!) is a musical I’d heard of, but didn’t know much about – with an urge to immerse myself in some live theatre I decided to take a punt on some day seats.
In case you’re unaware, many London theatres hold back a certain number of seats (the location of which varies) to be sold at a reduced price to callers at the box office on the day of the performance. Women on the Verge day seats cost £20. We arrived at the Playhouse box office at 9:45 am and were third in the queue (around ten people had arrived by the time the box office opened at 10 am). We managed to get stalls H13&14 for the matinee – great central stalls seats that usually cost around £65 … I love day seats!! Anyway onto my review …
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
… is essentially a women-centric, comedic, farce that revolves around some intertwining relationships and Valium laced gazpacho. It’s often surreal, but also attempts to tug a little at the heart strings. For me, that was its downfall, had they upped the pace and gone all out on the comedy it could have been brilliant; as it stands it’s an entertaining, but slightly forgettable, few hours of theatre.
The music, aside from an energetic number about telephone calls that I thoroughly enjoyed, tends to take a back seat … it’s more of a play with music. The book was amusing, but not strictly laugh out loud … unless you’re the attention seeking overly enthusiastic theatre fanatic who was sat next to me … but from the point of view of a woman, it did have quite a few self-deprecating ‘oh gee, I know the feeling moments’.
Although I didn’t feel much at all for any of the characters it was amusing, entertaining, but not memorable or groundbreaking.
This Production of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
The cast, headed by Tamsin Greig and Haydn Gwynne, deliver an eclectic mix of characters. The production is set in Spain, but only one (played by Ricardo Afonso) uses a remotely European accent … something that I found mildly annoying given that there’s often a Matador on stage and gazpacho is practically the plot. The cast gets by with their vocal talents, but don’t remotely astound … not that the piece has much room for vocal astonishment even for those who could deliver (Willemijn Verkaik & Ricardo Afonso), meaning the mediocre singing isn’t a huge issue!
I don’t have a great deal more to say, but I did like the set – it was modern, colourful, glossy, simple and slick.
My Verdict on Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Despite the reservations detailed above, I did find myself having an enjoyable time. Don’t over think it, be swept along for the ride and you’ll have a fun few hours… just maybe don’t pay full whack! I give Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown a rating of 2.5/5.