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The Theatreguide.London Review

Bush Theatre Spring 2009

Neil LaBute's 75 minute play is the monologue of a middle-aged man at the funeral of his older wife. As he rambles on, you wait for there to be some twist or reversal to his expressions of love and loss. But when the surprise comes, it is both bizarre and banal.

Actually, LaBute pointlessly complicates things by making the man have some sort of out-of-body experience, repeatedly referring to himself as actually being in another room receiving the sympathies of others while his spirit is here talking to us.

Interrupted only by his chain smoking and his comments on the unbreakable habit, he tells of meeting his wife, of stealing her from her first husband, and of all the joys of their life together.

You know that there has got to be more to it than this, and some comments dropped in the first half of the play may lead you to guess that he's eventually going to confess that he really resented and hated her. But they prove to be red herrings.

The real secret is something else entirely, and I'll just note that the play's title is a pun. And I'll add that you won't believe the ending, you won't see the point of the ending, and you won't care about the ending.*

Actor Robert Glenister is onstage throughout, and his performance is impeccable, the only real reason to buy a ticket. He and director Josie Rourke make the man's meanderings sound totally natural, as if he were ad libbing them on the spot, and give the hour what reality it has.

Gerald Berkowitz

*later note: He's Oedipus

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Review of Wrecks - Bush  Theatre 2009


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