Suspicious Minds is romantic comedy, performed in the style of a radio production. Mark and Fran have had a rough time of it recently, with Mark’s father having died and Fran cheating on Mark. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, Mark books the pair of them on to a romantic holiday… with time travel.
This being a radio-style production, there isn’t a set exactly, just two desks. One is set up for the two lead characters with microphones and scripts; the other is for the two actors who voice all of the other characters, as well as doubling as the Foley artists who provide all of the sound effects. Their desk, in contrast to the two leads', is littered with the objects that will provide these effects – including shoes, a cabbage, wooden boxes and a washing up bowl filled with water.
The two leads, Tom Wright and Zoe Lambrakis, perform their parts well, and are able to express the full emotions of their characters using only their voices – no mean feat considering how much of acting is reliant on body language and facial expressions. Mark and Fran are accompanied on their holiday by Simon, a rep for the time travel company, who makes sure the holiday runs smoothly and that any errors caused to the timeline are quickly sorted out by the ‘cleaners’. This and other side characters are ably provided by Andrew Turner, while Abby Cassidy's cast of characters include a bored, surly phone saleswoman.
But Turner and Cassidy truly steal the show with the sound effects they produce. Most memorable of these is the surprisingly graphic use of a knife and cabbage to produce the gruesome sounds of a gladiatorial arena; when said cabbage, representing a decapitated head, is casually lobbed across the stage, it's the funniest moment of the show.
Time travel is perhaps an over-used trope, but here it does highlight and neatly link into the point of the play. However, the idea of a time travelling holiday and all of its implications are not fully explored. Simon’s experience as a time travel guide is only hinted at, and a show around this character would arguably be much more interesting than the traditional rom-com presented.
Still, Suspicious Minds is a hugely enjoyable show that utilises its radio concept well. The performances are excellent, and it is intriguing to see the sound effects performed live on stage.