Skewed Judgement by Jamie Christian Review

IMG_7989Skewed Judgement explores a fledgling Tinder romance between the mismatched Ad (Joseph Tregear) and Claudine(Lana Miller), which is further complicated by their eccentric families and friends. Opening on the familiar setting of the bedroom on the morning after the night before, their relationship quickly develops. As Ad meets her flatmate, and former boyfriend, James (Alex Forman), things take an interesting turn. Instead of resenting each other, James begins to ingratiate himself into Ad’s life. I suspected that there might be more to this than simple friendliness.

As the play develops we meet Ad’s father Peter (Matthew Phillips), and his much younger boyfriend Mikhail (Benny Ainsworth). We start to see the dysfunctional upbringing that shaped him, and possibly explains his unlikely relationship with Claudine. She turns out to be a UKIP campaigner, much to the chagrin of Ad’s family. Fireworks fly when they are all together for the first time, and the feeling of farce intensifie further.

There are lots of nice lines and funny moments. Most of the best lines go to Peter and James, who also deliver the standout acting performances. Matthew Phillips delivers some withering put-downs at his son’s new girlfriend, who he has awarded two strikes to before even meeting her. “What a charmless girl”, he exclaims at one point. His pedantic characterisation is nicely drawn, and makes the contradictions of his behaviour and his moralistic stance more interesting.

Alex Forman is excellent as Claudine’s supposed ex-boyfriend. He is initially sullen and reclusive, before becoming endearingly enthusiastic as he is drawn more into the other character’s lives. As we learn more about his tragic backstory we start to see him in a new light. This performance had shades of some of James Corden’s more enjoyable performances. I did want to explore the depths of his character a little further though.

After being lucky enough to catch Jamie Christian’s previous play, the terrific A Fight at the Opera, I was keen to see what he came up with next. Skewed Judgement has lots of the same elements – laugh-out-loud humour, farcical situations, and flawed characters with troubled pasts. The strength of the play comes from Christian’s ability to place very differently flawed characters in an unusual situation and explore how it goes wrong. The dialogue is nicely written, it’s moving, and the characters are all interesting.

However, this play does lack the explosive and scintillating final act of A Fight at the Opera. It is also a little too conveniently wrapped up in the end. I would like to see the third act developed further for this play to reach its potential.

Skewed Judgement is an interesting watch, with some laugh-out-loud moments and enjoyable situation-based comedy. It is on at The White Bear Theatre in Kennington until Saturday26th August 2017. Tickets can be bought below.

Written by Martin Stocks