Getting Over Everest at the Hope Theatre

Everest

As I headed to the Hope Theatre for my penultimate show of 2019, I already suspected I was in for a treat, as ‘Getting Over Everest’ had already secured an Offcomm Short Run Commendation.  I have to say, having had the great pleasure of hooting with laughter at many points during this wonderful new comic play, I 100% agree with my fellow assessors, this show is a gem.

Natasha Santos both wrote the play and stars as Libby, a woman who is reeling after being dumped by her boyfriend of 10 years in the weeks before Christmas.  This play beautifully balances comedy with pathos, as we get to watch Libby try to process her heartbreak.  The laughs do not detract in anyway, from the depth of Libby’s loss and grief.  Having been in this relationship since she was 19, she questions if she knows who she is, if she even has an identity outside of the couple. All these questions are relatable and the humour feeds in to the fact that much of the audience will recognise what Libby is going through.

George Vafakis and Samantha Spurgin make up the rest of the cast, playing an array of different characters with zest and skill. Just thinking about the opening “Harry Potter man” scene is enough to make me start giggling. The energy this cast brings to this hilarious play fully lands the humour.  The 3 actors have a wonderful chemistry and are all blessed with brilliant comic timing. I’m not sure who was in charge of the choreography, but it brought out even more humour to the piece. I loved seeing such an intelligent and perfectly pitched use of physical comedy. The absurdist elements never tip into the realm of the unbelieveable, keeping the humour real and ensuring that this is a show brimming with truth as well as laughs.

Director Katherine Timms absolutely nails the comic pacing of the piece. She clearly knows how to bring the best out of her talented cast, and how to let that shine through the wonderful script.  None of the humour is over-egged, but flows at just the right intensity to make the plethora of comic situations work. This story feels so much bigger than the small space it is performed in. Ana Bretes’ set design is ingenious, the different scene changes are quickly delivered and are very evocative. It fits organically within the play, emphasizing as needed, while never unnecessarily distracting. Ditto Lily Woodford-Lewis’ technical design blends with the piece, and punctuates the humour in an authentic and natural way that flows seamlessly within the piece.

‘Getting Over Everest’ is both a comedy and a hero’s journey, as Libby looks to find her place in the world as a single 29 year old. The world has changed a lot in a decade, and so has she. She is such a likeable character, and even through the laughter, I was wishing her a wonderful post-break-up life. After the inevitably messy grieving period is over, naturally.

So yes, I adored ‘Getting Over Everest’ and yes, I think you should go to see it at the Hope Theatre if you have a free evening between now and 21st December.  Go on, treat yourselves to an hour of hilarity with heart. It will warm your hearts and give your laughter muscles a work-out. I fully cackled at one point, it really is that funny.

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