theSpace on Northbridge
It’s Friday night at the Fringe and things are getting decidedly freaky. I’m watching My Other Half (the play, my wife is still in London), a show in which a freak event causes a couple inexplicably to switch bodies during the night. Sound familiar? All that’s missing is Lindsey Lohan for that full Freaky Friday feeling.
The play opens with B (played by Anna Hodgson) at a grief support group, struggling to communicate how she has ended up here, unable even to articulate fully what or who it is that she has lost. It’s a neat plot device and sets up the intrigue nicely. Flashing back to the start of the story we see B and H (played by Charlie Randall) pick up familiar gendered domestic squabbles and fights; she barbs that he can’t make the bed, he shrugs and forgets to take the bins out. They settle their squabbles and go to sleep.
But there’s waking up on the wrong side of the bed, and then there’s waking up in the wrong person’s body. The morning brings panic as B and H see each other, as each other, and try to figure out what has happened. Both actors are strong in switching their physicality and portraying the corresponding character in their new body. What follows is a series of well-played comedic set-pieces, as the two attempt to get ready, attend a big meeting as their other half, and experience the world from the other sex’s point of view. As time goes on, however, the pair realise they have access to one another’s memories. As they begin to lose their sense of self, and learn their partner’s secrets, things get markedly less comedic.
The play is well written, containing a good number of plot-twists and call backs. It’s also well staged and decently acted (Hodgson, in particular, standing a head above the rest of the cast). Still, it never really moves up a gear from solid entertainment to gripping drama or hilarious comedy, specifically being let down by a couple of physical theatre/movement pieces which feel underdeveloped. My Other Half is a serviceable addition to the body-switch genre. Amusing, and with enough twists and turns to keep the audience engaged throughout, it’s a fine – if not awfully freaky – Friday night out.
Written and Directed by Christopher Sainton-Clark
Produced by Raising Cain Productions
My Other Half ends its EdFringe 2022 run on 13 August. Check the company website here for further information on this show and future productions.