Monday 1st August 2022 at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre, London
Reviewer: Maygan Forbes
What if the mundane every day events of your life are actually part of a deeply philosophical conversation about the workings of Chaos Theory and the existence of parallel universes? What if a simple snap of a rubber band can result in drastic changes in another place or time? ¿Rob or Rose? is the debut play from actor/playwright Henry Charnock. Both ambitious and chaotic, Charnock takes the audience through a whirlpool of emotions as both Rob and Rose introduce us to multiple dimensions of reality in just the short space of 60 minutes. By the end of the play, you’re not sure if you’ve watched an episode of Black Mirror or a botched romcom.
Things start off as an innocent encounter between two friends, Rose (played by Eleanor Homer) has taken her best friend Rob (Henry Charnock) along for moral support on a first date. What happens next, nobody would have seen coming. And this sentiment more or less sets the tone for the rest of the play. The audience are never really sure what version of reality they are witnessing within the diegetic universe of ¿Rob or Rose?, and whilst the pair mirror each other in alternative scenarios, questions of sexuality and gender crop up as overarching themes.
The usage of the small stage and minimal set design is superb and works incredibly well, who would have thought a bench, handbag and a bag of pick and mix would carry so much weight to a storyline?! Under Lillith Hippely’s technical operation, the use of sound to mark a junction in time is very well formatted. Also, can we take a brief moment to talk about the acting! Both Homer and Charnock are utterly convincing in their roles and command the audience’s attention with their ferocious talent. At one point in the play, leading up to a shocking confession, there were several audible gasps and shudders as the penny dropped – it was nice to bear witness to these reactions and it was clear that Charnock’s writing had done the job. If you are a fan of Christopher Nolan’s films, this play follows in the similar vein of the subversion of reality and the cumulative sum of your choices leading to a different existence.
¿Rob or Rose? played at the Lion and Unicorn Theatre on the 1st and 2nd August. The run is now over for the Camden Fringe festival but will return in October for the Clapham Fringe! I highly recommend you grab a ticket whilst you can to watch this performance, it definitely is a one of a kind show.
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