Passing By at the Tristan Bates Theatre
Much more than just another romantic comedy, Andrew Keates’ production of Passing By by Martin Sherman is a dynamic portrait of two men in love that delightfully captures the nuances of a meaningful relationship left unexplored.
Following a one-night encounter it seems unlikely that Toby and Simon will meet again, but when isolation and illness drive the duo together they begin to see past their shortcomings and appreciate one another for who they truly are.
The play stars James Cartwright and Rik Makarem – the pair are effervescent and charming together, recreating the subtle imperfections and sometimes obvious faults that mark genuine chemistry in a relationship. The realistic way in which the young men cope with commonplace difficulties and the uncertainty of the future is relatable and engages the viewer on a more substantial level.
Without even speaking a word Makarem wins over the audience with his clumsiness and boyish mannerisms. The happiness he exudes as the narrative begins is catching, his endearing nature creating a protagonist the viewer can genuinely root for.
Cartwright is driven and strong as Simon; it is his transition from unaffected to compassionate and feeling that truly stands out. His performance is telling, adding greater depth and dimension to a character that could otherwise come off as a cliché.
With detailed sets by designer Philip Lindley and an engaging musical composition by Mathew Strachan, the high production value creates the feel of a full-length feature film.
While Passing By is by no means an epic love story, with some cheesiness aside the real interest and entertainment derives from the conviviality of such plausible circumstances – a real treat to see.
Passing By is on at Tristan Bates Theatre until 30th November 2013. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.