I visited the Churchill Theatre in Bromley in order to see Alan Ayckbourn’s 1990s play Things We Do For Love, directed by Laurence Boswell. I must admit the main reason I wanted to see it was the presence of Natalie Imbruglia, former Neighbours star and singer. She is superb in her stage debut: her character Nikki is naive and vulnerable, needy and girlish but still likeable, and her pain when she discovers the betrayal of her best friend Barbara and fiance Hamish is deeply felt and moving.
The other actors are also excellent. Simon Gregor is disturbingly creepy as the postman obsessed with Barbara, while Claire Price is superb as Barbara herself. Despite her character’s bossiness and often-contrary views, she is vulnerable on the inside and in fact she was my favourite character in the play. Completing the quartet is Edward Bennett as Scotsman Hamish, whose strong chemistry with Barbara is entirely believable. The scenes in which the two characters spar, fight and argue are among the best, and surprisingly funniest, in the play.
I loved this, much more than the recent production of A Small Family Business at the National. It is wonderfully funny, but it is also bittersweet: for all the laughs, there is a hint of something darker.