My Romantic History

'Isn't memory funny?', comments Amy, one of the two main characters of DC Jackson's My Romantic History. No mere cliché, it's a thematic and formal necessity, as the play's through-the-looking-glass structure demonstrates how variably Amy and her opposite number, Tom, remember and misremember they things they have said and done to each other – not to mention their previous partners, each played tellingly by the same actor.In its slow-burn way, it's a comedy of misunderstanding and entrapment, dissecting an office romance that neither party really wants to be involved in, while each thinking that the other does. Theatrically smart in its multi-purpose use of office lighting and furniture to create a variety of scenes and moments (many of which, admittedly, still appear to be set in an office), it also recalls the best recent TV sitcoms. The disparity between thought, speech and action is something frequent; biting asides give us a privileged awareness of it – a trick familiar from more classical drama, but more recognisable in a modern context from the set-up of Peep Show. Similarly Tom's exasperated immaturity brings to mind Dylan Moran and Chris O'Dowd in the work of Graham Linehan.Tom's fecklessness, especially in his attitudes to women, threatened to grate – or more accurately, to make me question my own laughter – and if his selfish narrative was the entire show's it could have felt hollow, even nasty; but Amy's contributions even the balance, expose his flaws to be viewed as flaws outside the contract of direct address, and the hard-earned conclusion finally earns the elusive fifth star I was previously wary of giving. Attuned to the banalities of everyday speech and eerily cognisant of the male psyche, Jackson's script is given a natural charm by its three performers (a third in a series of wonderful cameo parts) and offers something much more incisive than the mere light comedy it threatens to become.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

The Blurb

'If you haven't met someone by the time you graduate, you're going to marry some idiot from your work. It's that simple.' A new comedy about love, loss and laminating machines.