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If you love theatre, live in the Netherlands but don’t speak Dutch yet, you will be happy to know there’s a new English-language theatre company on the Amsterdam scene. It’s called Actors Anonymous and they had their first show at the beginning of the month. The team — Bryony Cole, Tessa Stephenson, Max van Kreij and Charlie May —  aims to bring fresh & contemporary theatre to Amsterdam. Their first production was Gina Gionfriddo’s “Becky Shaw”, a witty and entertaining comedy, directed by Mark Winstanley with Polly Perkins as a guest co-star.

“So you will really pay money to watch people fight?” — a colleague asked when I told him about the show I was planning to attend. This remark came to my mind after the first 10 minutes of the play. Yes, there were people quarrelling on the stage: boring, annoying family quarrels. I was a bit worried about the rest of the show, but then the play took an interesting turn, especially introducing a new character in the person of Becky Shaw. Described as a “savvy, sharp comedy of bad manners”, this play is not the kind that will send you home with a good feeling. It’s a play about bad dating and dysfunctional families. And we’ve all been there at some point, one way or another.

The characters — all annoying, mean or disturbed — will fascinate and intrigue you. I couldn’t empathise with any of them; they are all people I would try to avoid in real life. At the end of the show I could only debate which one was the worst, and if there were actually any good guys in the play. But there’s no need to have good guys in a play for it to be entertaining. The action will captivate and surprise you. It will also make you laugh, (although after a while you might feel guilty, because these aren’t necessarily funny matters).

Although all of them wonderfully played, my favourite character was Becky Shaw, so perfectly impersonated by Bryony. It was funny to discover that my friend’s favourite was Max, the arrogant financial adviser who annoyed me the most.

It was a refreshing show and I will definitely wait with interest for the next one.

Becky Shaw 01
Becky Shaw 02
Becky Shaw 03

Photo credits: Arjen Veldt.

Disclaimer: I received complimentary tickets to review this show. However, all the opinions expressed here are my own. 


  1. Ian Cole

    Brilliant review. Fine judgement there! Xx


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