Richmond Theatre’s production of ‘Charlotte and Theodore’ starring Eve Ponsonby and Kris Marshall is, on the surface, a romantic comedy about a couple of philosophy academics navigating the conflicting demands of life, academia, and parenting. But strip away the quips and you’ll find that the play is much deeper than this. At its heart, it asks the age-old question – how free should freedom of speech be?


The play starts with Charlotte (then working for Theodore) criticising Theodore for censoring ideas that are different and limiting what the students can be exposed to. After Charlotte’s career overtakes his, Theodore posts an angry tweet and Charlotte (now his boss) makes him formally apologise, take a break from teaching, and even take awareness classes. Theodore is now the one to express frustration at the ‘censorship’ of ideas and the limitation of freedom of speech. This reversal shows how easily ideologies and opnions can change depending on the situation.


One of the main ideas that this play discusses is the importance of freedom of speech and how far we can go with the new age of ‘wokeism’. Understanding that words have power and can be hurtful, while also protecting our right to freedom of speech is something that the couple discuss frequently throughout the play. This provides an intriguing and engaging dialogue that leaves the audience reflecting on long afterwards.


A spokesperson for Richmond Theatre commented that “It’s really exciting to have a brand-new play written by Ryan Craig here with us at Richmond which touches on so many pertinent, hot button topics right now mixed with comedy. It’s a really great show to have at our venue and the audiences are really enjoying it,” which I believe really sums up the essence of this play. Amusing but also stimulating.


The minimalistic staging and two-person cast is rather refreshing, as the simplicity allows for the more complex writing and powerful acting to be properly appreciated. ‘Charlotte & Theodore’ is a short but highly engaging play that discusses one of the big topics of the day and does so with a wry smile and a lightness of touch.