Review: It’s Complicated

Suzanne Duffy 13 June 2012

It’s Complicated

Corpus Playroom Lateshow, 9.30pm, until Sat 16th June

The main character of ‘It’s Complicated’is Daniel (Matt Lim) who decides, after some self-analysis, that what he really needs to solve romantic problems is a long distance relationship. What he actually ends up with are two long distance relationships, which he attempts, and comically fails, to maintain while utilising all the tools of the modern age. This is, of course, when it all becomes rather complicated.

Often humour in this genre of production is hackneyed or sentimental, but writer Daniel Henry Kaes deserves credit for writing a romantic comedy which is genuinely funny in a relatable way. This was helped by the references to problems with technology which surely everyone in the audience must have recognised; in particular the Skype conversation that leads to ambiguities and hilarious miscommunication. Also, Daniel’s internal monologue voiced by Andrew Room may have seemed out of place simply as an introduction, but its recurrence at inconvenient moments for the protagonist made it a convincing running joke. Emily Dance was delightful as Jessie, the confused American who arrives to visit her British boyfriend, only to be unceremoniously crammed into a wardrobe so he can escape to meet his other girlfriend. This episode sums up the bizarre logic which Daniel uses to rationalise his dishonesty, and Lim was at his comic best when he was trying to deal with Jessie, Willy (Maria Pawlikowska) and his own very vocal thoughts all at once. As the name ‘Willy’ (short for an unpronounceable original) demonstrates, the youth of the characters allows for puerile but entertaining humour in an ‘Inbetweeners’esque vein. This was complemented by the awkwardness an audience expects of an only-just post-adolescent male talking to anyone of the opposite sex: Lim and Pawlikowska exploited this potential well and incorporated it into their dynamic.

The play was at its weakest when it attempted to draw serious attention to the point that the conveniences of the modern world can actually make relationships harder and people more selfish. In particular the repetition of the word ‘complicated’ in the brief sober moment between Jessie and Jo (Olivia Emden) became irritating. The humour communicated the theme of the play in a far subtler way than these trite sections. Otherwise, though, Emden gave a commendable performance, managing to come across as both pragmatic and sympathetic while displaying excellent comic timing. Overall, if exams have left you in need of a good comedy, this is a satisfying show that is well worth watching. Just try to ignore the more serious life lessons it tries to squeeze in.

Suzanne Duffy