What's In A Name?, NST Campus, REVIEW: 'It’s certainly not the rip-roaring ride I was expecting'

This five-handed set-up tells the tale of an evening in the company of friends who finally find the time to speak some home truths with very intended consequences – upset.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 11:00 am
What's In A Name? is at NST Campus, from November 19-23, 2019. From left: Bo Poraj, Joe Thomas, Laura Patch and Alex Gaumond. Picture by Piers Foley

It’s served to us, like the mouth-watering Moroccan buffet they consume, in a highly stylish set. There is no doubt where we’re at, and who we’re with, with the brick feature walls, beautiful windows, low back sofas scattered with colour-wheel-opposite cushions.

The set scores the winning home run of the evening, even the child’s colouring table plays its part as does the eponymous picture of family – lying on their fronts, heads propped on elbows – showing us the exact representation of happy domesticity which we all strive to achieve.

But all is not well we quickly learn, and not least with the comedy in this show. Given the title of the show, What’s In A Name?, and the image on its marketing material – a baby with a Hitler moustache – the punchline is already out for the count.

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And then, as we’re let on from the outset that the hosts of the supper named their children Gooseberry and Apollinaire you can guess that those choices will be served up at some point. It takes a mildly entertaining first act to get there.

Luckily the second act picked up with some surprising twists and turns. It’s certainly not the rip-roaring ride I was expecting with too many of the laughs generated by swear words – there wasn’t too much swearing, more that there wasn’t enough joy elsewhere.

But it does serve as a prod to examine the choices we make in naming our children.