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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 May, 2005, 11:20 GMT 12:20 UK
Press views: Some Girl(s)
Former Friends star David Schwimmer's West End debut in Neil LaBute's Some Girl(s) has been given a mixed response by UK theatre critics.

Schwimmer is cast as a teacher who is to finally settle down and marry, but decides to visit four ex-girlfriends first, and stars alongside Saffron Burrows, comedy star Catherine Tate, Vera Drake actress Lesley Manville and Sara Powell.


David Schwimmer and actress Sara Powell in Some Girl(s)
Schwimmer stars with four woman in the play, including Sara Powell

While Schwimmer is a real Chicago stage actor rather than some cathode-ray carpetbagger, I was only mildly enthralled by Neil LaBute's new play: it's wry, clever, psychologically astute but, as with so many 100-minute plays, left me feeling hungry afterwards.

Schwimmer and the four "old flames" are a pleasure to watch. he looks like a leaner, snazzier version of Elliot Gould, and has a gift for mixing gaucheness and vanity.

LaBute's play is a neat, elegant construct but one that leaves me feeling this highly intelligent writer is capable of so much more.


David Schwimmer... is not called upon to extend his range nearly as far as one might have expected in Some Girl(s).

One suspects the author has softened his usual cynical approach to human affairs so as to accommodate the fact that there is something invincibly wholesome about Schwimmer.

Throughout Schwimmer remains bland, competent, and boyish - though not fatally boyish in the manner that appears to have turned these women on.

This love rat would much rather be stroked than bite.


David Schwimmer and actress Catherine Tate re-enact a scene from Some Girl(s)
Some Girl(s) is playing at the Gielgud Theatre in London
Some Girl(s) is undoubtedly funny at times, and LaBute analyses the sexual relationships with a searching accuracy that might be described as wise. But gentle? Never.

This is a play where the gloves keep coming off and characters inflict real damage on each other.

Schwimmer proves inspired casting. So fondly remembered from Friends, he takes to the stage with the audience already on his side, and his endearing gaucheness seems designed to ensure our continued sympathy.

Schwimmer mercilessly lays bare his character's opportunism, casual cruelties, and chronic self-deception.


On the face of it, Some Girl(s) is one of Neil LaBute's less mind-splattering pieces. No gay-beatings, as in his Bash!; no obvious malevolence to women, as in his film In The Company of Men.

But for LaBute testosterone is as trustworthy as cocaine-and-cyanide cocktails - and so, in its quieter way, it proves in Some Girls.

Schwimmer...has successfully made the transition to the stage, giving us an earnest, anxious figure who sometimes seems less like a man than a dog eager to be told he's a good boy.

There's plenty of subtle, telling, funny writing in a play which is far more than an excuse for a TV star to parade his skills in London.


Friends cast
Schwimmer starred in the long-running US sitcom Friends
Ross from Friends hit the West End last night.

Really, I should call him David Schwimmer, his proper name, but the performance he gives in this new American play is so similar to what he does on the sitcom that it barely seems worth the bother.

Some Girl(s) is short and watchable. It tells the tale of a man who is about to get married to some dull girl in New York.

Mr Schwimmer, or Ross, is quite good - so far as he goes. He is handsome and charming, just as he was in Friends.

It's all perfectly likeable but the role probably has greater possibilities.

Friends star makes West End debut
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31 Aug 04 |  Entertainment


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