Review: Romantics Anonymous (Wise Children)
This review comes as a last-minute surprise on my Thursday evening, and though I’m tired from work, I simply can’t turn it down! I can’t lie, I expect nothing less from a Wise Children production, who are in the safe hands of the amazing Emma Rice. The story is of a young French woman, Angélique, who suffers from an anxiety disorder and faints if confronted with anything slightly nerve-racking. We see her journey to find love, as well as becoming a successful chocolatier, in the wonderful world of Rice’s imagination. Despite a slight tech error that delays the streaming to start with, this musical captures a charming love story that encourages us to chase our dreams, work hard and accept the quirks that make us, us.
Think Waitress meets The Midnight Gang, Romantics Anonymous ticks all of my boxes for a musical: the costume, set, music, characters and story-line are flawless. Rarely do you find that a musical can be carried on other elements beside the music, and yet this one did it perfectly. A perfect scene that showcases these elements is the ‘Emotions Anonymous’ group, staged in a semi-circle, paired with an upbeat, witty song. This scene establishes characters, as well as setting up this slightly fantastical world. One by one they introduce themselves and their emotional issues. My favorite is the woman who can’t say no, as it is too relatable to me and many of us that feel the need to please others constantly, which makes this moment even more hilarious. The play on words, alliterations and rhymes show off the genius work of Emma Rice and Christopher Dimond.
The overall aesthetic and thought that went into costume, lighting and set compliments one another beautifully. Every moment is so picturesque, each second could be made into a framed photo. This show is definitely one to see for musical lovers, family friendly viewers and chocolate lovers! Deeper than the visuals, this show promotes self-acceptance. That despite our differences, weirdness and flaws, we are all entitled to receive love. Furthermore, to work hard and go after your dreams! If I haven’t complimented this enough, the cast include a diverse range of body types and color-blind casting. My only complaint is that I can’t see this live, so I look forward to seeing more work of Wise Children IN THE THEATRE!
Photo by Steve Tanner