Some Girl(s) – yes, that’s how it’s titled – is not Neil LaBute’s best work. Less funny than Fat Pig, less edgy than In The Company of Men, it’s best known as a production vehicle for ex-sitcom stars to entertain their TV audiences in the comfort of a theatre. In London David (Friends) Schwimmer and on Broadway Eric (Will & Grace) McCormack played the central character referred to as ‘Man’, a wired, awkward, nervously energetic writer on the verge of commitment to marriage who – in four separate-but-near-identical hotel rooms across the States – meets a series of ex-girlfriends.

Ostensibly, he’s out to make peace with them and settle some old emotional debts – they each seem to have a valid reason to be angry with him – but it’s equally clear he, and they, have ‘issues’ to work out. Unfortunately in Tower Theatre’s amateur production, shorn of any ‘him off the telly’ celebrity interest in a principal actor, it just doesn’t come off the page and it’s hard to engage with either the writer on the stage, or the writer of the play.

‘Man’ – although I’m fairly sure it was ‘Guy’ on Broadway – is a neurotic who’s had one espresso too many, popping on the balls of his feet, twisting his hands in mid-air to make a point, forever touching his face or his forehead or his hair, verbally and physically contorting to rationalise his past transgressions and present himself as a ‘nice guy’. Laurence Ward captures this accurately, but it still makes you want to punch him.

LaBute has his hero engage the women’s emotions or sexuality, and occasionally make genuinely reparative offers of reconciliation for his past behaviour, but the character fails as a credible Everyman because he’s so monothematically an ‘average white guy’ locked in a cage of whiny self-justification.

Tower Theatre is an ambitious amateur company, producing twenty or more shows in a year, and there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with the casting or the directing; everyone knows their lines, it has good pace, the women are nicely differentiated, the set’s substantial enough and the stage management work hard to make each successive hotel room distinct from the others, but on this play their efforts are largely wasted.

Remote GoatOriginally published on