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A CurtainUp London London Review
My Romantic History

If this goes sour? If what goes sour? I was pretty drunk too but I don't think we got married, did we? — Amy
My Romantic History
Alison O'Donnell as Amy and Iain Robertson as Tom (Photo: Robert Day)
My Romantic History starts with the premise that if you haven't met someone by the time you graduate, you're going to marry someone from your work. Thirty something Tom (Iain Robertson) meets Amy (Alison O'Donnell) on his first day at a new job and after Friday night drinks they end up spending the night together. DC Jackson's delightful comedy, using a cast of just three, takes us back through the romantic history of both Tom and Amy as the new relationship throws up memories of their first loves and all the nostalgia that recollection brings.

The first half of the ninety minutes without an interval tells the story from Tom's point of view. An avowed commitmentphobe Tom brags that he has never failed to make a girl ditch him by showing his more repellent traits. He compares life with Amy where she makes him smoothies and muesli for breakfast to being in a concentration camp run by Lorraine Kelly, an all round nice Scottish breakfast television presenter. He thinks back to his first love, kissing Alison Hamilton (also played by Alison O'Donnell), a girl he knew at school and met on the bus.

The second half is Amy's version of the same events in the office but features her early boyfriend Calvin Kennedy (also played by Iain Robertson). Rosalind Sydney works hard as Amy and Tom's work colleague, wide eyed Sasha who is a samba drummer at weekends and tries to get colleagues along to support the drumming event. Sasha's interest in Tom makes him say, "First Amy, then Sasha. I'm like catnip to the women of this office." Rosalind Sydney also plays a myriad of parts including Tom's male best friend from his schooldays Jessie.

Iain Robertson manages to make Tom likeable as well as selfish and Alison O'Donnell is very attractive as 33 year old biological clock ticking Amy. The use of slides and wall displays adds to the variety in this three hander and boxes are moved around to construct a double bed and also serving as pub chairs or office furniture. Lyndsay Turner's direction keeps the action moving and we never doubt which characters we are watching because of the excellence of the acting characterisations.

DC Jackson's natural writing pleases with much to laugh at but has enough pain for this romantic comedy to be realistically tinged with sadness. I liked the way the narratives are embellished with Tom's thoughts and Amy's too in their part of the story. My Romantic History was very popular at the Edinburgh Fringe and won several awards and has been extended a week at The Bush.

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My Romantic History
Written by DC Jackson
Directed by Lyndsey Turner

Starring: Alison O'Donnell, Iain Robertson, Rosalind Sydney
Design: Chloe Lamford
Lighting: Philip Gladwell
Sound: Emma Laxton
Graphic Artist: Sean Tidy
The Bush Theatre and Sheffield Theatres production in association with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre
Running time: One hour thirty minutes without an interval
Box Office: 020 8743 5050
Booking to 27th November 2010
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 28th October 2010 performance at the Bush, Shepherd's Bush Green, London W12 (Tube: Shepherd's Bush)

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