Review: Over There, Royal Court

I actually saw this a few weeks ago, but it has taken me a while to put pen to paper, or more accurately finger to keyboard, since I still don’t really know what to say about it.

A new play by Mark Ravenhill, superficially Over There looks at the relationship between two twin brothers who have grown up on opposite sides of the Berlin Wall as they visit each other in a period over five years, which crucially includes the fall of the Wall. However, the brothers actually represent West Germany and East Germany and the way in which the two countries had to relate to each other during the fall of Communism and the subsequent reunification.

This much I understood, but the problem that I had with the play was that I simply didn’t care. The brothers are played by real-life twins, Harry and Luke Treadaway, and whilst they are enthusiastic performers, I did not feel any real sense of emotion (I guess it would be hard to display the emotion of the entirety of a country) but for me it meant that I found little to engage me in the show. There was a lot of attention-grabbing scenes in underpants, and later food-smearing, masturbation, Crying Game style shenanigans, but I couldn’t help but feel they were only there for the shock value rather than adding to the substance of the piece.

Ultimately, it may just come down to the fact that I am not sure if I am a fan of modern theatre and can’t really remember the GCSE English Literature class when we covered allegory, but all I can say is that I was glad it was over and done with within 90 minutes!

Photo: Simon Annand

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