Can real life be captured in fiction? Can real love ever be played out on stage? And in life, love, work or art, what is “the real thing”?
Henry is an aging playwright with a gift for penning intelligent but rather empty scripts. His latest work is a moderate success and he’s feeling reckless, extravagant, famous and in love - but not with his wife. He’s fallen for Annie, who’s married to the star of the play and suddenly Henry’s preconceived notions of love are turned upside down.
“’I use you because you love me. I love you so use me.’ It’s no trick loving somebody at their best. Love is loving them at their worst. Is that romantic? Well, good. Everything should be romantic. Love, work, music, literature….”
But true romance is not that simple and whilst his characters can manage a “clean exit with suitcase”, Henry soon learns that the baggage you accumulate in real life is far from tidy. As he draws closer to the person he thinks he loves, Henry begins to realise how much he stands to lose.
Considered by many as semi-autobiographical, Tom Stoppard’s The Real Thing combines his trademark razor-sharp wit with some of the most touching and beautiful language ever written about the nature of love. Deeply moving, startlingly funny and accompanied by a sing-along ’60s soundtrack, Next Stage’s in-the-round production of this fiendishly literate and impassioned play will reach out to anyone who has realised that the course of true love never did run smooth.