When you go to see something new you're often buying into an idea. I think my enjoyment of a gig, film or play relates to how much my idea of what it will be like matches reality (the 'reality minus expectation equals enjoyment' principle.)
In Analyse Thou the idea in question is what Shakespeare characters would be like in therapy. As I have vague but fond memories of Shakespeare and a keen interest in the human mind it seemed to me a great idea.
However as I entered the dingy recesses of The Cellar (more a home to jäger bombs and sweat than high culture) I realised my expectations of enjoyment were pretty high and I would probably be disappointed.
So it was with surprise and relief that I realised I was really enjoying Analyse Thou. The play was devised, written and performed by Jeremy Allen, Jodana Janse Van Vuuren and Lee Woodward (Ruff Trade Theatre Company) but this was no ego vehicle. It was a tightly written, well-paced and a brilliantly acted comedy.
It managed to be clever without making the audience feel stupid and funny without being smug. The therapists, rather than being bland sounding boards for the characters, were pivotal to the comedy. The dialogue was so carefully crafted, containing some beautiful homages to therapy lingo, I felt the writers had either watched every therapy film going or spent significant time in therapy themselves!
Even my Shakespeare-phobic husband was laughing out loud - no mean feat.
So good luck to the Analyse Thou crew with whatever they decide to do next with their play - they deserve it.