Vino Veritas Review
Gracie Moore, Arts and Lit Editor gives her review on Exeter Theatre Company’s latest show, the performance of David MacGregor’s ‘Vino Veritas’.
Vino Veritas is the latest show put on by the Exeter University Theatre Company, performing over three days from the 18th to the 20th of May. I attended the show on the final night, Saturday the 20th May with very little idea as to what to expect.
The dark comedy, written David MacGregor, centres around the reunion of two couples who are going out together to celebrate at a Halloween party but tensions arise between the couples when one member of the group, Lauren, provides everyone with a taste of a mysterious blue wine which she picked up in Peru on a working holiday with her husband, Phil. We soon come to realise that this wine makes the characters unable to lie or sugar-coat anything and instead, many a can of worms is opened when they begin unravelling the toxic behaviours in their relationships. The play is fast-paced, dramatic and, overall, hilarious, hooking audiences with its charm and wit.
All four actors did a tremendous job of creating a chemistry which made their relationships seem feasible rather than strained, with just the right amount of affection without it being cliché as well as the addition of classic couple spats.
The play is fast-paced, dramatic and, overall, hilarious, hooking audiences with its charm and wit.
I particularly loved Lauren’s monologue (played by Amy), making an experience with abortion seem as heartbreaking as we all imagine it would be. In many ways, this felt like the climax of the performance as you can see the other characters start to gain perspective on how silly their everyday mundane arguments are.
The drama was nicely spaced out too, it had twists, turns, emotional moments and lighthearted humour and I didn’t find myself getting bored. The only thing I would say is that the ending felt slightly cheap and as if it was an easy way out. I felt like I was expecting more from the ending as if it was unfinished. However, I came to realise that, as the performance is going to the Edinburgh Fringe in the summer, there was a limit to how long it can be. Therefore, given this, I felt like the ending was possibly the most fitting for the time restraints as well as not letting it go on for too long.
My favourite acting performance was definitely from the actress who plays Lauren, Amy. She fitted her role perfectly (a mum-of-two who is stuck in a rut with her marriage). Alice, who plays Riley, also gave the convincing performance of a career-driven progressive mum who wants the best for her wife and children but can’t see that it’s causing rifts in their family dynamic. The characters of Claire and Phil were certainly funny, especially with Claire’s dramatic and unrestrained declaration to her wife that she just wants more kinky sex! However, I would argue that these two characters sometimes felt like they were more scripted than Lauren and Riley. Occasionally, the gags felt forced but the comedy aspect countered this well.
The setting also felt realistic and homely, even down to the finer detail of having a framed picture of Lauren and Phil on the beach, sitting pride of place on the living room coffee table. It meant that as an audience, there was no need to fill in any gaps or try very hard to believe that it was a real home.
Overall, I was very impressed with the performance. It was good entertainment on a Saturday evening and the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into EUTCO’s portrayal of a dark, modern comedy. I hadn’t had the chance to watch many other of their shows up until this point but I can firmly say I’ll be keeping an eye out for more in the future.