A must-see debut show

Rupert and Me Rupert and Me

Gary Caffell
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
3:20 PM

You wouldn’t want to share a house with Johnny (Lee Chapman), a lazy slob living off past glories of a failed pop career. Nor could you bear to share with Rupert (Drew McGurren), a fastidious clean-freak unable to get over the split from his wife.

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Their fractious relationship plays out to a background of hits and references from the 90s, in a laugh-a-minute and gripping debut play from Hare Or The Dog Productions, written by Hertfordshire’s Lee Chapman and co-directed by Anna Haffers.

Set in Hampstead in 1996, the play opens as a group of guys – Jim (Peter vanDoorn), Liam (Grant Stone), Danny (Henry Salmon) and Gazza (Valentine Taylor) – assemble for a game of cards in the home of Johnny, a recently-separated, former teen pop star, now living the bachelor lifestyle in squalid conditions. And if the mess is any indication, it’s no wonder that his wife left him.

Causing great concern and late to arrive is Rupert, who has just been kicked out by his wife. Rupert seems suicidal, but as the action unfolds Johnny becomes the depressed one as he allows Rupert to move in and struggles to come to terms with his highly-frustrating ways.

The audience are able to play guess the year with music hits including ‘Saturday Night’ and ‘Whoomp There It Is’ interjecting the dialogue, and mentions of Jet from Gladiators and Tamagotchis helping us to relive our youth. There is also a fantastically tongue-in-cheek re-working of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme tune sung by Danny, with roars of laughter echoing around the theatre.

After a failed date with neighbours Maria (Beth Eyre) and Sam (Sara Mei) scuppered by Rupert and hilarious arguments over disinfectant, crumbs and lamb chops, Johnny throws chicken chow mein – sorry it’s prawn – at his friend and tells him to leave. Rupert moves in with the neighbours and the friends are eventually reunited over their love of cards. But where is Jim, has he also just been kicked out by his wife………?

The clever voiceovers and musical interludes are completed in style when Danny sings a revamped version of Deep Blue Something’s ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’. A fitting end to a stunning debut from Hare Or The Dog Productions and Lee Chapman.

Head down to the Courtyard Theatre, Shoreditch, to see this must-see show. Tickets are available through TicketWeb.co.uk. The play closes on February 5.

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