I wasn't sure about his frenetic entrance right at the beginning of the play, but as time went on the central character Matty (played by Simon Every) grew on me. Part of Matty’s role is to invite the audience to participate in the storyline, by making a choice between two situations. Should he talk to one character or another, jump into a cab or stay where he is? This structure, we’re told, is put in place to help us lead the action in different directions.
The underlying plot runs a bit like this. Two brothers, Matty and Steven (Chris Heaney) are leaving for Paris. Two friends, Jen (Emma Jane Martin) and Ellie (Alex Vincent) are sharing a drink. Matty and Jen have history, and after their chance meeting, they re-connect and reminisce. The girls agree to accompany the brothers on their adventure, and the inevitable complications of “who loves who” and “who will end up with who” ensue.
The cast did a great job in the fast-moving split-focus scenes, and the banter between them raced along at such a pace they can be forgiven for a few fluffed lines here and there. The relationships were, in the main, credible; the interactions lively and at times very witty.
It was the first time on stage that I have ever witnessed anyone making love to a baguette, yet Vincent as “Boring Betty” pulled it off convincingly. Every, meanwhile, settled down as time went on, and was believable as the wide-boy smart-alec reckless brother. He was also particularly instrumental in keeping the energy buzzing between scenes.
At times though, I felt there was a little too much shouting and swearing, which came to feel unnecessary and tokenistic. It would be great to see the script encompass alternative ways for the actors to express themselves in the heat of the moment, rather than always falling back on raised voices and expletives.
It’s a clever idea to allow the audience to decide the fate of the cast, but sadly I found the plot did not hang together particularly well, leaving me confused as to what message the company was actually trying to convey to the audience. I was left wondering whether it mattered what options we actually chose – would the result have been the same? The ending left many questions unanswered as the lights went down, and because I was wondering whether I’d missed something, the dramatic finale fell a bit flat for me. I didn't quite understand how we had got there.
Still, it was a brave attempt at an interactive piece of theatre, and the players gave it their all with a reticent audience. But I have to admit at the end of it all, if I was asked the question “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” I was ready to take the latter option.