Boy Gets Girl

Wednesday, 14 November, 2001

This drama by American writer Rebecca Gilman is her third play to be produced by the Royal Court Theatre. Her previous plays include “Spinning Into Butter”, and “The Glory Of Living”, which won the 1999 Evening Standard Award for Most Promising Playwright - the first American writer to win this award.

This latest offering is an intense thriller that deals with the subject of stalkers.

Theresa, played brilliantly and convincingly by Katrin Cartlidge, meets a man, Tony, on a blind date. However, he is not her type and so decides not to see him again. He then begins to send her flowers and starts to leave messages on her voice-mail. She demands he leaves her alone. However, his advances become more fanatical and he begins to threaten her. She contacts the police and a restraining order against him is awarded. But this does not stop him as he goes into hiding and continues to follow her and continues to threaten her.

This powerful drama is a disturbing insight into how stalkers affect the victim’s life and how helpless the police and friends can be in this situation. Rebecca Gilman, the author, skilfully destroys Theresa as she loses all identity and freedom at the hands of one man. Gilman also highlights the attitude many men have towards woman which help fester an unhealthy attitude towards them. This is graphically obvious with the character of Les Kennikat, a man who has made a living out of filming woman with big breasts!

There is some ‘unintended’ humour in the first act as Tony tells Theresa, and through her, women in general, that the reason they do not want the love of a good man is because they are sexually repressed. He turns up uninvited and totally unexpected in her work place and when he is yet again rebuffed he goes on to tell her that she is afraid of intimacy and that is why women become totally engrossed in work. His obvious misogamy makes him a figure of amusement, a jerk to be laughed at. However, in the second act he no longer remains merely a ‘jerk’ but a very abusive and potentially violent person. The play ends with every vestige of Theresa’s former self abandoned and for all intents and purposes she ceases to exist. One realises at the end of the play how sadistic the act of stalking is and how totally desolate it can be for the victim.

This drama has received good notices from the popular press....IAN JOHNS for THE TIMES says, “Amusingly captures the anxiety and awkwardness of a blind date.” CHARLES SPENCER for THE DAILY TELEGRAPH says, “Gilman writes with a cool, lucid economy, and Ian Rickson's production, with sleek, stylish designs by Vicki Mortimer, ratchets the tension with great efficiency.” MICHAEL BILLINGTON For THE GUARDIAN says it “exerts a fiercely intelligent grip”. PAUL TAYLOR for THE INDEPENDENT says “Without ever losing its sharp wit, the play expands into a truly chilling and affecting study of human isolation and vulnerability in big cities.” NICHOLAS DE JONGH for THE EVENING STANDARD says, “A powerful psychological thriller and suspense drama” He goes on to say, “Boy Gets Girl enthralls in its depicting of a weird, sexual phenomenon.” JANE EDWARDES for TIME OUT says, “The play is greatly enhanced by Katrin Cartlidge’s sensitive, wiry performance as Theresa.” ALEKS SIERZ for THE STAGE says, "..compelling, insightful and one of the best shows in London today." ROBERT HEWISON for THE SUNDAY TIMES says, "Ian Rickson’s deft direction and Vicki Mortimer’s ingenious design support fine performances all round."

This dark drama, which is directed grippingly by Ian Rickson, has much humour that stops the play from becoming too heavy and at 2 hours and 30 minutes in length it is an elegant and intelligent thriller that many will find chilling.

(Darren Dalglish)

(Production photos by Ivan Kyncl)

Links to full reviews from newspapers...

Evening Standard
Daily Telegraph
The Times
The Independent
The Guardian
Sunday Times
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