Theatre Review: The Man On Her Mind - Charing Cross Theatre, London ✭✭✭✭✭

The Man On Her Mind
Charing Cross Theatre

'The Man on Her Mind' by Alan Hruska was for me, a masterclass in theatrical writing and producing.

Housed at Charing Cross Theatre, this Off Broadway production filled it's surroundings and could quite comfortably have thrilled twice as many audience members, from a stage twice the size.

Hruskas hilarious play takes a look into the life of fiction editor Nellie, a young woman living in Manhattan and content with her rather insular, self serving existence. Happy and occupied by an extremely active fantasy life, Nellie is unreceptive to the interference and suggestions from older sister Janet, and by extension her husband Frank, who constantly seek to encourage Nellie towards more 'normal' lifestyle choices. Attempts to match her with their neighbour Leonard are also rejected, even though the two are more suited than Nellie ever could have imagined. The audience sits in hope that the truth of this will be realised sooner rather than later.

The strength of this production undoubtedly lies in its script. Dialogue crackles right from the first few beats delivered by a cast in total understanding of the required tempo. Hruska manages to create a world flecked with a little magic, while also delivering a tender and truthful examination of what it is to have and seek connection with a human soul. 

From observing the interaction of these two couples; the free spirited and dithering Nellie and Leonard and the more established, conventional Janet and Frank, we see a beautiful representation of couple-dom from two ends of a spectrum and how those two extremes can borrow influence and benefit from each other. The characters as individuals as well as in relation to each other are portrayed superbly by the talented cast.

As if it needed any more strings to it's bow, the element of magic stretches into the boxy stage design which surprises us by suddenly opening up to twice it's size 20 minutes into the story. The work of the stage crew was the smoothest I've ever seen, with not a second wasted during effortless transformations back and forth between sets, all done with a sense of humor and style that was in fact, a bit of a show stealer.

I left with a renewed faith in the existence of true talent.

5 stars out of 5 ✭✭✭✭✭

Review by Sassy Clyde

Charing Cross Theatre
The Arches, Villiers Street
London WC2N 6NL

11th September - 27th October
Performances Monday – Saturday at 7.30pm; Saturdays at 3.30pm

Ticket Prices £29.50/£24.50/£17.50

Box Office 0844 493 0650