The English Heart at the Etcetera Theatre: Review by Stephen Vowles

In writing and directing his own work The English Heart, Matthew Campling shows he has a biting wit and a wicked love for satire. The time period of the play starts around the vote for Brexit and finishes just before the election which has just taken place. Campling’s grasp of the snobbery attached to class, social climbing, political ignorance and pure ambition is cleverly woven into the script. It’s a story of three people with three great performances: Anya Williams as Marie, Andrew Jardine as Andre and a very cute Jake Williams as Jake. This menage a trois  is played out with an air of drawing room sophistication and the laughs at times subtle and at other times very loaded. The jokes that have a political value to them form the basis of a very clever exchange of dialogue. Campling’s obvious aptitude for the use of political metaphor is clearly on show. There is a tender side to this play too as he also suggests a heart if broken can be mended, even if you think it’s an impossible task. This play also offers an indictment of the current state  of world affairs with attitudes towards political, moral and sexual  freedom thrown in the mix for good measure. The English Heart echoes my own principle: ‘If one is prepared to make one’s own bed then be prepared to lie in it’. A timely play which is well worth a look and with a cast that have gelled together and pulled off a very amusing and sexy look at rural county living.


The English Heart runs until the Sunday 2nd July at the Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street NW1 7BU. Box office 020 7482 4857.

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