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 The Theatreguide.London Review

Kissing Sid James
Jermyn Street Theatre    Autumn 2012

This quirky little rom-com flirts with most of the clichés of the genre and manages to avoid many of them on its way through an amusing, entertaining and occasionally touching ninety minutes. 

Eddie is an office supplies salesman who still lives with his mother, Crystal is a divorced casino croupier. They've already had one disastrous date, but something – call it quiet desperation – makes them think a weekend at the seaside is a good idea. 

So they try to believe the very ordinary b-and-b room is lovely and the town with nothing to offer for entertainment but a karaoke bar is fun and the rain doesn't matter and the not-especially-good sex is evidence of true love. 

And meanwhile their nervousness takes comic forms as they constantly get in their own way in their efforts to connect, her fantasies (generally involving Sean Connery) intimidating him and his constant jabbering keeping any romantic mood from developing. In a particularly comic sequence his mid-coital delaying technique of trying to think of the ideal Man U team proves something of a buzz-kill when he starts naming them out loud. 

And so they flirt and quarrel and make up and bore each other and allure each other and decide to go and decide to stay, with playwright Robert Farquhar never letting us lose sight of the fact that there are two real people here who really don't have much in common except their loneliness, and who are sad and funny in almost equal measure. 

Actors Alan Drake and Charlotte McKinney and director Jason Lawson are veterans of previous stagings of this twenty-year-old play, and know their characters and the play's rhythms inside-out, finding all the humour and all the quiet pathos. 

Kissing Sid James (It's an insult she throws at him in one of their spats) is a small play with not a great deal that's new to tell us. But it provides its share of laughs, treats its characters with respect, and delivers what it offers – ninety minutes of light entertainment.

Gerald Berkowitz

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Review - Kissing Sid James - Jermyn Street 2012-  

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