Review: C’mon Angie! at White Bear Theatre ★★★★☆

Set entirely in a singular morning, in the titular character’s small, cramped flat, C’mon, Angie! deals with the aftermath of a drunken one-night stand gone wrong. Diverging character recollections, contrasting perceptions and questions of intent all give rise to a powerful conversation about consent, sexual responsibility and truth.
Written by Amy Lee Lavoie and originally set and performed in Vancouver, this UK version places the action, instead, in Belfast, a creative choice to highlight the somewhat insular society that the characters come from and how this can give rise to unchallenged worldviews.
The play opens beautifully, with a detailed set that instantly transports you into the bedroom of Angie, played by Rafaela Elliston, where the emotional states of the two characters inhabiting the space could not be more opposed. Angie’s clear distress, contrasted wonderfully by the oblivious, upbeat Dean, played by Robbie Martin, gives rise to instant comedic effect and sets the stage for what’s to come.
When Angie accuses Dean of sexual assault, he is seemingly dumbfounded, appearing to be genuinely baffled at how she has come to such a conclusion. He pleads his side, using a range of both well and ill-conceived arguments and reasoning for why she is mistaken. Martin’s earnest and impassioned delivery, coupled with his character’s purported better recollection of events, and his charisma and likeability, makes him very convincing, indeed. But Angie has a retort and counterargument for all, and with the details of the previous night being revealed to us very slowly over time, the audience is not dealing with cold-hard facts, but rather differing interpretations, leaving us to judge for ourselves what really happened.
Although the topic of the piece is a serious one, the writer and director get the balance between intensity and humour just right, with the gravity of the play being punctuated by moments of comedy at just the right intervals. Martin and Elliston play off one another well, contrasting or matching each other’s reactions at all the right times, resulting in absorbing moments of conflict, but also surprising moments of understanding between the two. The pacing and length of the piece also work well. By the end of the show, you are left feeling that every angle of the debate has been argued, every side of the character’s emotions shown, and it is left for the audience to decide what matters more: intent or impact.
C’mon, Angie! is a nuanced, thought-provoking piece, successfully adding something new and worthwhile to one of the most prevalent issues and conversations of our time. It manages to teach and illuminate the experiences and perceptions of others without being overly condemning or critical. See it on your own, or take someone with you; either way, it’s sure to leave you with something to talk about.