Review: 3*** Americat: A Love Story….Really – Tristan Bates Theatre @TristanBates @1912Productions

Tweetingit: 3* A sometimes confusing, but frequently engaging study of an American in London finding love then desperately trying to cling onto it.

Just across the road from St Martins Theatre (where the Mousetrap plays into its 67th year) we have the Tristan Bates Theatre; an unassuming hole in the wall that houses a cosy downstairs bar and a 70 seat studio upstairs. Americat tells the story of Kid (Scott Kettner) who is trying to make a life in London. Apparently not looking for a relationship he meets Ashley (Amy Elliot) and they fall head over heels in love. There is however, a storm on the horizon; Kid is a US national with the usual visa limitations. They both go through the possibilities:- could she live with him in the States; what if they marry to gain a foothold in the UK? Kid decides to try out for acting school and gain student status for three years, by which time it all be sorted: or will it?

And so follows a slightly chaotic, but strangely engaging series of auditions with various drama schools. Kid somehow manages to end up in the wrong part of London for three consecutive auditions.  I mean really is that possible even for a stranger in town (tell me if I’m picking holes?). Kid recites Shakespeare and gets conflicting feedback from successive drama teachers. He’s either too close or too different to the character he’s playing; it soon becomes a euphemism for his relationship and the person he truly wants to be.

The production hangs together reasonably well, but does feel heavily experimental with a narrative squeezed to fit the 60 minute format (what did they leave on the storyboard?). The middle section is confusing as it briefly becomes a play within a play.  The fact that drama school crops up in the story is no co-incidence and possibly reveals its origins as an improvised piece. None of which presents an issue as sufficient content keeps the narrative ticking over. There is a pleasing quirkiness in the characters and obvious chemistry between real life couple Scott Kettner and Amy Elliot. They never get to the bottom of this thing called love; but the simplest and most complex emotion is a difficult one…would we really have it any other way?…Happy Valentine’s Day!

Authors: Scott Kettner and Amy Elliot

Directors: Scott Kettner & Cast

Producer: 1912 Productions

Box Office: 020 3841 6611

Booking Link: https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/americat-a-love-story-really

Booking Until: 16 February 2019

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