Review: Hopeless Romantics, Guildhall Theatre

Hopeless Romantics is the result of Reform Theatre Company joining forces with Nick Lane, writer of hit comedies My Favourite Summer and Me and Me Dad, along with new writer Fiona Wass.

Just two actors Kivan Dene and Hannah Douglas play middle-class hedge fund manager and singleton Alan and feisty, council-estate girl Zoe.

Nick apparently wrote the first act from Alan’s hopeful, romantic perspective and south-Yorkshire playwright Fiona, the second, as seen through Zoe’s cynical eyes.

Alan’s single status wouldn’t be a problem, but his sisters are all living romantic dreams with their various successful partners. So when his judgemental parents invite the family together for an anniversary dinner, Alan does something rather reckless and asks Zoe, a girl on work experience at his office, to pose as his girlfriend for the night.

Imagine a cross between Educating Rita and Jane Eyre with a bit of Shameless mixed in and you will be just about there.

The play, which was staged at the Guildhall Theatre in Derby in association with Harrogate and Middlesbrough Theatres, was great fun and packed with hilarious one-liners.

As the two, talented actors also played the other family members and, as it was set on a bare stage except for a simple backdrop, it was more like watching a comedy duo doing stand-up than a drama.

Despite being a little rough around the edges presentation wise, the writing was terrific and it certainly gave the actors the chance to show off their skills at characterisation.

Amanda Penman