The Mentalists – Wyndhams Theatre
The Mentalists is a comedy play written by Richard Bean and starring creator of popular TV show The Office, Stephen Merchant. Richard Bean is a popular playwright these days having written the successful One Man Two Guvnors and the recent phone-hacking scandal play Great Britain. The Mentalists however doesn’t live up to these other productions and feels more like a piece that was thrown together quickly without a great deal of thought behind it.
Ted (Stephan Merchant) is a manager at a cleaning company whose wife has left him and he is on a downward spiral into a schizophrenic depression. He hires the help of lifelong friend Maurie (Steffan Rhodri), porn film maker and hairdresser, to film a sales pitch video of him conveying his ‘utopian vision’ of a world where people can live together in a gated community and respect the simple rules of life such a cleanliness, good behaviour and sleeping with your own wife. All this can be yours for just £29.99 and Ted needs a thousand people to sign up to build his community. But is it just a scam? Is Ted going crazy or does he really want to create a cultish community?
It’s an odd play where nothing really happens in the first act and then after a rather unnecessary interval (the whole thing only lasts two hours) not a lot happens in the second half either. The message becomes clear only at the very end of the show. This is a story of friendship and how far you will go to look after the ones you love in their hour of need. It is a nice message but it takes a while to get there.
The Set Design by Richard Kent is well done. A simple, run down hotel room in North London with a big old TV and bathroom that only has a shower curtain to separate it from the bedroom.
Bizarre, with very little happening but well acted and directed with a nice underlying message. I can’t help thinking I did enjoy it but I can’t work out what there was to enjoy! This show isn’t going to win any awards but if your a fan of the actors you will probably have a fun night out.
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Photo: Tristram Kenton
The Mentalists is playing at the Wyndhams Theatre until 26 September 2015. Click here for tickets