Wednesday, 29 January 2020

'Romantics Anonymous'

Just delightful. Everyone said it would be and, for once, everyone was right. Directed by Emma Rice of Wise Children, Romantics Anonymous is a sweet, charming and joyous story that will really warm your heart. 

Angelique (Carly Bawden) is a gifted chocolatier who is crippled by shyness, yet finds an outlet for her chocolates thanks to the kind Monsieur Mercier (Gareth Snook) who lets her hide behind him. But once he dies, her life is thrown into disarray and she needs to pull herself together. This leads her to The Chocolate Factory, where she meets the socially awkward Jean-Rene (Marc Antolin) and, slowly but surely, the chocolatey wheels of love start turning. 

The mannerisms of an awkward new romance are perfectly executed, and there are lots of delightful moments here: Jean-Renet's staff peeking through his office blinds, Angelique being followed by a car, the mumbler at the self-help meeting, and many more. All of these small touches are what shapes the body of Romantics Anonymous to be the excellent show that it is. 

Originally created in 2017 by Emma Rice while she was still at Shakespeare's Globe, Romantics Anonymous has rightly taken on a life of its own to become a much-loved show by theatre-goers all over the UK. After its Bristol run, the performance is heading to America, where it will doubtless by embraced by theatre fans there, too. 

An Emma Rice production is always a good thing, and there's really nothing to dislike about Romantics Anonymous. Infectious songs well sung; a pretty French set; excellent performances; and plenty of laughs along the way. This is a hot-water bottle production - it's feelgood, comforting and just what you need on a cold, drizzly, winter evening. I left with the songs ringing through my head for the rest of the night. 

Romantics Anonymous is performed at the Bristol Old Vic until February 1. Click here for more information and to book tickets. Although the show is travelling to the US from March, if you happen to be over there. 

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