It’s a new week, and there’s a new show in town, adding to the West End’s long list of shows currently in production. It’s extremely tough for a new show to stand its ground in the West End as we’ve seen plenty of shows arrive and leave in a heartbeat. Richard Bean‘s The Mentalists takes residence at the Wyndham Theatre, a small scale two man show with big ambitions.
Stephen Merchant‘s approachable Ted, and Steffan Rhodri‘s cheeky chappy Morrie should be the recipe for comedic genius… however… this is not the case. As Ted reels on about how he envisions a better world, Morrie is forced to tolerate his friend’s fanciful visions. The claustrophobic atmosphere should evoke revolts and resolutions, however I am left unaffected. Rhodri’s Morrie injects a much needed comedic air to the play, however Merchant is one dimensional, calling for the need for there to be a lot more nuance.
Bean’s script momentarily beams with sharp one liners and extracts of historical wrongs, however the piece feels overwritten; with scenes feeling longer than they should be, packed with anecdotes that feel that they are purely there to fill the 1 hour and 45 minute running time. Abbey Wright directs a lukewarm show that although attempts to highlight the wrongs of the world, does not feel powerful, although it has the potential to be. Richard Kent‘s 2* hotel stage design gives the performers purpose, in fact even upstaging them. 2/5
Review written by Lucy Basaba.
The Mentalists is currently showing at the Wyndham theatre until Saturday 26th September. For more information on the production, visit here…