Sideways at the St James TheatreCultureTheatre
After the extraordinary success of both Rex Pickett’s novel and the Oscar-winning film of the same name, Sideways now hits the London stage. Both shocking and amusing, the viewer is not only promised an evening full of laughter, but also a 101 lesson on wine.
On the verge of a book deal and a wedding, the two best friends, Miles and Jack, decide to take a quite literally fruitful tour through the Napa Valley. Tasting every Pinot Noir they can find, the lad’s trip soon takes a turn when they meet Maya and Terra. The search for the perfect glass of wine is quickly turned into the pursuit of these two women, bringing both friends into a moral dilemma in the face of Jack’s upcoming wedding. The lies gradually get more and more difficult to uphold and the characters’ friendship is put to the test as their trip falls apart and their lives unravel.
The set is refreshing, the constant turning and redecorating of props indeed feels like the journey is passing in front of the viewer’s eyes. The play itself definitely relies on a crude sort of humour to draw the audience in, which sometimes gets a bit irritating. Daniel Weyman at points is too overzealous in his role as the failed author Miles, as is Simon Harrison as groom-to-be Jack, which renders their characters less likeable and less authentic. While the dialogue is fast-paced and full of sophisticated reference with humorous intentions at heart, it reduces the women the friends pursue to crazy play-things and sometimes almost borders on offensiveness. The two female leads, despite their unfavourable portrayal, are performed marvellously, especially Beth Cordingly as Terra, who brings her part to life beautifully. Even though the comedy in Sideways is risqué, the play is nonetheless an enjoyable trip that will leave its audience in want of a glass of the finest red.
Photo: Pamela Raith
Sideways is on at the St James Theatre from 31st May 2016 until 9th July 2016, for further information or to book visit here.