Keeping it real with Company of Ten’s latest production

The Real Thing

The Real Thing - Credit: Archant

Love is at the heart of Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing, the next production from the Company of Ten which opens at the Abbey Theatre in St Albans tomorrow night. (26)

Written by Tom Stoppard, who also wrote the screenplay for Shakespeare in Love, it poses a number of questions not least what is real love, how do you recognise it and how do you hold on to it.

The main character, Henry, is a well-known playwright, who creates a hit play about love. Like Henry, it is naïve and idealistic but when Henry falls in love with Annie, an actress, and leaves his wife and daughter to be with her, he finds the reality of love and passion quite different from his perfect imagining.

Director Andy Mills explained, “The action cleverly goes backwards and forwards between scenes from Henry’s play, and “scenes” from his real life. This means that there is not a natural progression towards a solution at the end. The two strands are woven together, mirroring each other. The audience is left guessing whether the two outcomes will do the same.”

Mark Waghorn, who plays Henry, described his character as, ‘a hopeless romantic, who truly commits to both wives, but is better at writing about love for the stage than he is at expressing it to his nearest and dearest’.

Mark added:: “Having an affair is not normal behaviour for Henry, so he is tormented by his betrayal of his family. He can only justify it because he thinks it is The Real Thing.”

Performances are at 8pm tomorrow and Saturday (27) and from next Tuesday, March 1, to Saturday, March 5. There is also a matinee this Sunday (28) at 2.30pm.

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To book tickets click here or call the box office on 01727 857861.