Tittitutar Town – White Bear Theatre, London

Reviewer: Richard Maguire

Writer: Sonja Doubleday

Director: Jeanie Crystal

We’ve all had to go next door to pick up Amazon deliveries when we’ve received a ‘Sorry We Missed You’ card through our letterbox. But most of us have returned. When Julius goes to collect his parcel from next-door neighbour Sally, he doesn’t come back. Instead he’s spirited away to a pub in the weird Tittitutar Town, full of the oddest characters. With only the occasional flashes of humour, Sonja Doubleday’s play is too bizarre for its own good.

Tittitutar Town is home to many sexual predators; two women battle for Julius’s attention while the very creepy Mayor of Tittitutar has an unhealthy obsession with Julius’s blonde wife. All are larger-than-life and grotesque in their own way, but at least Sarah Yeboah manages to mine some innocence out of bartender Saskias who otherwise pursues Julius relentlessly. The rest of the eccentrics have no redeeming qualities very much like characters in late night Channel 4 sitcoms.

There are laughs, but they don’t come from Tittitutar Town; instead they come from Sally’s house in Manchester. Sally, played by Doubleday, is a great comic invention. Wearing a nightdress like the haunted girls in The Exorcist and Poltergeist, gothy Sally has a deadpan humour that is enlivened by a series of uncomfortable tics. You wouldn’t want to be knocking on her door at any time.

But when she’s not sending people to Tittitutar Town, Sally spends time watching TV with her flatmate Lee. They regularly dance to the theme music to The Game of Thrones, and in one scene – the best in the whole show – she takes him into space. Suddenly all the cast come on stage with DIY stars around their heads to dance to Coldplay’s A Sky Full of Stars. It’s unexpected and kind of sweet.

Indeed, so good is the pairing of Sally and Lee, that you can’t help wishing that the play was a two-hander, set entirely in Sally’s house. Lee, played by Lee Lomas, seems like a normal bloke, and his understated acting is a tonic compared to that of the monstrous inhabitants of Tittitutar Town. Sat on the sofa, Sally and Lee could be Gogglebox gold.

However, their scenes are few and unfortunately most of the action takes place in the town nicknamed the ‘arse end of nowhere’. The friends and family of the actors find everything hilarious but for the rest of us it’s like being at a party when you’re the only one sober.

Runs until 9 July 2022

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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