Review: Me & My Doll at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton (Online)

Writer & Director: Lucy Bird

Director of Film & Editor: Neil Reading 

What do you get when you bring together a person who has reached a glass ceiling in their career and whose only experience of romance is through a pile of rom com DVDs and also a rubber doll that comes to life?

The plot is a little crazy, but what rom com isn’t? Lucy Bird’s script is pacy and at moments laugh out loud funny with its nods to famous films, sassy remarks and humorous interactions between Kate and her newfound friend aptly named doll.

Bird, also the Director, takes on the role of Kate and manages to portray both the outward looking, strong persona of a self driven woman that’s stuck on the career ladder, to the softer, conflicted person underneath who has been so keen to protect herself by burying her emotions underneath that it’s preventing her in life.

Joining Bird is George Attwell Gerhards as a rubber doll, the perfect boyfriend that was given to her on a stag night as a nod to her inability to find romance. Gerhards’ movement is on point, hobbling around on the sides of his feet, he manages to truly embody this inanimate object to help Kate. A highlight of the show’s comedy is when Atwell recreates some romantic moments from films including the infamous pottery wheel from Ghost to try and woo Kate.

The chemistry is there between the pair on the stage, but it is in the tension between them that has much more to say about the characters and how each of them, with their flaws, contribute to an ending that isn’t one you may predict but is moving and powerful.

Neil Reading has edited the piece for broadcast and there are some great moments where you get drawn into the action, but there are other moments, particularly at the beginning where more close up shots would have been beneficial, such as Kate’s opening scenes. That being said, on the whole, it translates well as a piece of captured theatre.

As we start to unlock from the past 12 months of social isolation, Me and My Doll is a light hearted comedy with a lot to say about intimate relationships, gender in the workplace and barriers that we put in place seemingly to protect us from harm. Bird’s story is far from conventional, but underneath this bonkers tale is a warm, bittersweet romcom that will make you laugh out loud and make you think.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This ticket was gifted in exchange for a review. Rating based on a £10 cost. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here

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