Magazine article Variety

Romantics Anonymous

Magazine article Variety

Romantics Anonymous

Article excerpt

THEATER REVIEW / LONDON

Romantics Anonymous

Theater: Sam Wanamaker Playhouse; 320 seats; $81 (top)

Book: Emma Rice Music: Michael Koomin

Lyrics: Christopher Dimond

Starring: Dominic Marsh, Carly Bawden

Emma Rice is an old-fashioned romantic - no doubt about it. When she brought "Brief Encounter" to Broadway back in 2010, the whole stage seemed to swoon, as lovers were knocked sideways and swept offtheir feet. With the company Kneehigh, she turned "Tristan and Yseult" into a tale of two people pulled together like planets.

To both stories though, Rice added the opposite: those leftbehind by love. In "Brief Encounter," the station staffremained earthbound and unmoved, while "Tristan and Yseult" were watched by a chorus of The Unloved, a flock of bespectacled, anorak-wearing oddballs - trainspotters of the heart.

Rice's latest project, "Romantics Anonymous," entwines those elements with soaring success. A musical adaptation of Jean-Pierre Améris' piquant 2010 French-Belgian romantic comedy "Les Emotifs Anonymes," the show is a grand romance between the unlikeliest of lovers, two sweethearts racked by social anxiety. Factory owner Jean-René (Dominic Marsh) sits in his office, plugged into self-help tapes, while Angelique (Carly Bawden), a master chocolatier, joins a support group for the out-of-sorts, Les Emotifs Anonymes. …

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