views from the gods

saints and sinners of the stage and screen

Getting Over Everest
Tristan Bates Theatre
7th August 2018


Publicity photo for Getting Over Everest

Photography provided by the Camden Fringe

What kind of man is Robert Everest? What a man, what a man, what a mighty fine man or an utter tool? To be honest, it doesn't really matter - when you've been with someone for a double-digit length of time, suddenly being single can be shatteringly difficult to cope with. Libby (Natasha Santos) is certainly finding Getting Over Everest to be a challenge and a half - to the point where her best friend Steph (Grace Dunne) is having to rugby tackle her every time she reaches for her phone and her boss (George Vafakis) can count the number of times she's had Sinéad O'Connor on a loop in the office. It's - yeah, it's got to that point.

On some level, Libby knows that her behaviour is getting increasingly erratic, but on another, she can't stop yearning for her past life with Robert and hasn't truly accepted her newly single status. Getting Over Everest is an hour-long comedic romp heavily influenced by turn-of-the-millennium British humour. It's relatable and slick to the point where anyone will find themselves roaring with genuine laughter, but this feels like a personalised bowl of chicken soup for the soul for anyone who identifies more with Generation X than Generation Y.

Although Santos is the unquestionable star of her own beautifully written show, the supporting characters are equally important, with Dunne and Vafakis superly playing all the people in Libby's life - and at times, even the props. Katherine Timms' direction is fast, punchy and flawless - it's clear that she's really connected with the warmth and humour of Santos' script and brought it to life using her natural flair for ensemble movement. Knowing her style, she makes for the perfect collaborator with Santos, complementing the playwright's gloriously funny script with a wonderful fluidity. The sort of shows that have clearly influenced the writing - Smack the Pony being the most obvious - worked well on screen. However, they wouldn't have enjoyed the same level of success on stage. Timms has nonetheless somehow translated Santos' vision into something utterly brilliant for the theatre.

There are some more tender moments in Getting Over Everest - whilst this is primarily a piece of comedy in which we laugh at Libby's increasing desperation, we pause to see the actual hurt fuelling the character in her interactions with her GUM nurse (Dunne). This temporary shift in tone for a poignant heart-to-heart allows us to see Libby as a rounded-out character and truly identify with what she is going through. Whilst we might not have all broken down at work clutching a pair of boxers - well, I haven't, I can't speak for you - we've all questioned our self-worth and sanity being in the midsts of a bad break-up. By allowing us to see the real, unfunny side to Libby's situation, we quietly invest even more in the character and her dark, self-deprecating, raw humour. Slightly unhinged, maybe, however, Libby is someone we would befriend in real life - you just know she would have your back. Although Robert may have moved on, we fall a little in love with Libby ourselves.

An absolutely bloody joy to see. Getting Over Everest is silly, wildly funny and actually, as ridiculous as it may sound to describe a play that has been based on a sketch comedy format, life-affirming. If Libby can make it through to the other side having hit such depths, there's hope for us all. Simply put, dear readers, I loved this show. Go see it.

Getting Over Everest opened on 7th August and runs until 11th August 2018 at the Tristan Bates Theatre, as part of the Camden Fringe.

Nearest tube station: Leicester Square (Piccadilly, Northern)

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