Play by Neil LaBute. How far would you go for love? A fast-moving and thrilling piece of theatre set on a college campus in small-town America - It's a play about relationships, art and friendship where nothing is quite what it seems.
The Shape of Things opens with a chance meeting in a museum between Evelyn, a sey, aggressive young artist and Adam, a shy, insecure student. Before long they became involved in an intense afffair which spirals into the kind of dangerous, seductive territory that LaBute does best - a modern day romance with a twist. PLEASE NOTE: Contains some strong language.
Orginal London Production - 2001
Previewed 24 May 2001, Opened 30 May 2001, Closed 23 June 2001 at the Almeida at King's Cross
Returned 18 July 2001, Closed 4 August 2001 at the Almeida at King's Cross
The cast featured Paul Rudd as 'Adam', Rachel Weisz as 'Evelyn', Gretchen Mol as 'Jenny' and Fredrick Weller as 'Philip'. Directed by Neil Labute with sets by Giles Cadle, costumes by Lynette Meyer, lighting by Mark Henderson and sound by Fergus O'Hare.
While the Almeida Theatre's home in Islington, North London, was being refurbished they performed in a specially built but temporary theatre located in Omega Place, off Caledonian Road, in King's Cross. Due to 'public demand' the production returned, with the same cast, for a further two week run. In 2003 the play was made into a film with the same original London cast all reprising their roles.
Original West End Production - 2004
Previewed 8 May 2004, Opened 17 May 2004, Closed 12 June 2004 at the Ambassadors Theatre
The cast featured Enzo Cilenti as 'Adam', Alicia Witt as 'Evelyn', Sienna Guillory as 'Jenny' and James Murray as 'Philip'. Directed by Julian Webber with designs by Simon Higlett, lighting by Adam Silverman, music by Fraternity and sound by Richard Price.
Astounding critics and audiences alike, The Shape of Things originally premiered amidst a blaze of publicity at London's Almeida Theatre in May 2001 where it sold every ticket for every performance and immediately transferred to New York.
"Neil LaBute's glimpse into the lives of four ill-matched lovers, The Shape Of Things, unfolds with the predictable inevitability of Brit Art shock. Student artist Evelyn (awkwardly played by Alicia Witt) takes a shy, unworldly boyfriend, Adam, then sets about changing him. Julian Webber directs for presentation, rather than content, and the set by Simon Higlett provides the perfect frame for his production. For all its slickness, I suspect that under LaBute's artistic posturings there's a more straightforward (and possibly more interesting) play, about women who regard men as the raw material for perfection, struggling to get out. Believe me, trying to change men doesn't work. Any more than this play does." The Daily Mail
"So what constitutes art nowadays? A pile of bricks, a bowl of congealed porridge, a vast condom, or the pillow that Tracy Emin may or may not have slobbered over? Let's venture further into the avant-garde, as the protagonist of The Shape of Things does. Am I myself a work of conceptual art or an "art installation" as I sit here wondering how on earth to review Julian Webber's sharp, pointed revival of Neil LaBute's tantalising play without revealing its painfully disconcerting denouement? .. The result is a variation on the Pygmalion story with as much to say about the tougher varieties of sexual games playing as about the boundaries of art. If I didn't enjoy it quite as much as when I first saw it in 2001, it's partly because I could no longer be startled by the ending and struck by its logic, partly because there was now no Rachel Weisz to embody Evelyn's sexual allure and charisma." The Times
"Three years ago the premiere of Neil LaBute's play The Shape Of Things, about modern art, struck me as being as fresh as paint, a contemporary Pygmalion set among college graduates in America. At its heart, this piece charts a girl called Evelyn's reshaping of her slavishly devoted, nerdy boyfriend Adam into a cool, well dressed, sexually confident guy. That is until an unexpected twist raises questions about art and morality and the way in which love, like art, can be an illusion. Alas, knowing what's going to happen - and my lips are sealed - takes much of the edge off the play. A bigger problem with Julian Webber's over-stylised revival is the performances from Alicia Witt, Sienna Guillory and James Murray: Friends-style sitcom acting, everything expressed from the outside inwards, all exaggeration, neck-swivelling and goofy grimaces, so cute and utterly unfelt. A potentially absorbing debate is reduced to crude semaphore." The Mail on Sunday
The Shape of Things in London at the Ambassadors Theatre previewed from 8 May 2004, opened on 17 May 2004 and closed on 12 June 2004.