Reviewed on Friday 10th July 2015
Stephen Merchant makes his West End debut alongside Steffan Rhodri in Richard Bean's two-hander. First staged in 2002, The Mentalists has been revived by Abbey Wright with a top notch cast.
As the duo set about filming Ted's speech, Morrie begins to (slowly) learn just how badly his best friend's life has spiralled out of control.
I've always admired Merchant's work and he gives a good performance in his first West End role, it's just a shame not to see him sinking his teeth into something more enticing. He has strong chemistry opposite Rhodri; as expected both actors have perfect comic timing and make the most of their roles.
I think The Mentalists is far more suited to one of the smaller theatres in London. It's a little show and, perhaps, more detail could be highlighted and the intensity could be heightened if the experience was more intimate.
The Mentalists is enjoyable, but it's far too gentle for my liking; it isn't hilarious, neither is it hugely gritty or gripping. Despite the first act dragging, by the interval I did wonder what direction the piece was headed. Overall the second act is a little stronger; however, I was expecting some sort of dark twist or big tension release... but it never came. Overall the piece fell flat and I was left hugely underwhelmed.
Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)
The Mentalists runs at the Wyndham's Theatre until 26th September 2015.
Please visit www.TheMentalistsThePlay.com for further information and tickets.
Photo Credit: Helen Maybanks