WHAT’S IN A NAME – Birmingham

In Opinion, Plays, Regional theatre, Reviews by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

Birmingham Rep, Birmingham – until 11 February 2017

“I’m a forty-year-old bachelor, who wears orange, likes Michael Bublé, and lived in San Francisco for a year.”

Its rather lazy, and stereotypical, approach to laughing at the gays aside, there’s a quite a lot to enjoy here in the Birmingham REP’s production of the award-winning French play What’s In A Name?. Written by Matthieu Delaporte and Alexandre de la Patellière, Le Prénom has been widely translated and produced, as well as receiving a film adaptation, but this version translated by Jeremy Sams for Just for Laughs Theatricals, marks the play’s British premiere.

Set in the Peckham apartment of Peter and Elizabeth (of course I went to Birmingham to see a play set 10 minutes from my flat!), the sharp comedy revolves around that staple of many a dramatist – the awkward dinner party. The hosts have invited her brother and his best friend Vincent and his heavily pregnant wife Anna, plus their ‘confirmed bachelor’ friend Carl, and over a Moroccan buffet and bottles of Chateau Margaux 1985, all manner of uncomfortable truths are revealed.

Events are triggered by the rich and boorish Vincent announcing the name of his forthcoming son, something that weighs heavier than usual in these alt-right times, sparking an intellectual conversation wh