"A thoroughly enjoyable theatre experience"
by remotegoat reviewer for remotegoat on 30/07/14

Unable to properly cope with his mother’s death, Frank decides he isn’t going to university anymore, instead opting to live in a house with his best friend Bailey and spend his nights with girlfriend Chelsea. Life is okay enough, until he meets Phoebe Lewis. And everything changes.

Reading that synopsis above (which is more or less a paraphrasing of the synopsis on the programme), and you’ll come to the conclusion that ‘The Words I Should Have Said To Phoebe Lewis’ is essentially a play about unrequited love. And, generally, it is. It does a fantastic job of expressing those feelings of regret and missed opportunity we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives.

But what makes this play stand out, and why you’re going to have to brace yourself for an extremely positive review, is its attention to every relationship in the story. At the heart of it is Frank – he is our eyes and ears, breaking the fourth wall as he guides us through this journey of his. James Craze is the actor taking on the role, and he is simply superb. Frank is charming, likable, a little bit of a dope but with his heart firmly in the right place, only going astray because that’s what young people end up doing. Craze is able to convey this through his narration to the audience, but it is when interacting with the other characters that you really see how well Frank’s character is developed.

We believe in his friendship with Bailey, in the ups and downs of his relationship with Chelsea, and in the rivalry he has with his sister. The one relationship that isn’t properly developed, interestingly, is the one Frank shares with Phoebe Lewis (though this could be intentional). The climactic meeting between the two doesn’t quite explain what’s going on, perhaps treading over the line of ambiguity and into confusion.

Another thing about this play is that’s it funny. The script (by Jim English) is genuinely funny, with many laugh-out-loud moments and witty one-liners. The cast and crew is made up of friends and college students who know each other well, so it’s clear that English has written to the strengths of his actors. Those actors, in turn, give brilliant performances, and do justice to the words on the page. Even a small turn from the ‘villain’ of the piece is memorable.

Apart from a minor glitch at the beginning, the technical aspect of the show was also brilliant. The production made the most of a very small set, utilising as much of the stage as they possibly could. The frenetic nature of the play meant some quick changes, but the crew were up to the task.

If you haven’t already guessed it by now, I loved this show and, had it not only been playing for a few days, I’d highly recommend everyone go and see it. End Of The Line Theatre began because it’s members they felt they were not getting the opportunities to showcase their skills where they wanted; and, in taking matters into their own hands, they’ve managed to produce a thoroughly accomplished comedy that reinforces the importance of fringe theatre.

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