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I'm Gonna Marry You Tobey Maguire | Southwark Playhouse Borough

Fresh from a sold-out run in New York, I’m Gonna Marry You Tobey Maguire sets alight the

Southwark Playhouse Borough for an unforgettable night of theatre. Indeed, even the

Southwark loos are plastered with Tobey Maguire posters, accompanied with pictures of

Kirsten Dunst crossed out in red sharpie and a map that marks exactly where in the world

Tobey Maguire is. Indeed, Rodrigo Hernandez Martinez’s brilliantly executed set design

instantly catapults audiences back to 2004 with the entire theatre space wallpapered in

Tobey Maguire pictures (seeming to be taken from teen magazines) and items that are

emblematic of Y2K teenage girlhood: a pink cowboy hat, twinkling fairy lights and fluffy

carpets. However, puncturing this cutesy image is the starkness of the floor to ceiling pole

that stands stage right, with a pair of handcuffs attached to it. Indeed, Hernandez

Martinez’s set design cleverly hints that we should expect the unexpected from I’m Gonna

Marry You Tobey Maguire. Samantha Hurley’s unique show takes audiences on a rollercoaster through the events of Spiderman’s (Tobey Maguire’s) fictional kidnapping as

he is held hostage by a teenage girl in her basement.


The show’s star is fourteen-year-old Shelby Hinkley who is the president of the Tobey Maguire fan club and whose world we find ourselves immersed in. The solution to Shelby’s everlasting happiness is, of course, marrying her celebrity heartthrob. Shelby (played masterfully by Tessa Albertson) is an expertly crafted hero and villain. Indeed, Albertson’s performance is so side-splittingly funny that you can’t help but fall deeply in love with Shelby despite the fact that she is a problematic lead, and herself comments that if her life were a movie, she would be the villain. The way the audience are sat firmly in the palm of Shelby’s hand despite the relatively long run-time (no interval) is a testament to Hurley’s writing that balances beautifully with Albertson’s stellar performance.


Albertson’s comedic performance seems to be from the Lucille Ball/Kristen Wiig/Rachel Dratch and Albertson really shines in this role. Albertson’s physical comedy and complete charisma matched with moments of intense vulnerability endear audiences endlessly to the deluded yet delightful to watch Shelby Hinkley. We find ourselves as audience members fearing Shelby while falling in love with her quirky, troubled and determined character.



Likewise, Anders Hayward (playing Tobey Maguire) should be applauded for an acute study of “Maguireisms”. From the moment Hayward appears on stage, we completely buy into the fact that he is this rough around the edges Hollywood actor, Tobey Maguire. Completing the ensemble beautifully is the thoroughly hilarious Kyle Birch (playing Brenda Dee Cankles and other assorted characters) who works the audience into a frenzied state of laughter and applause whenever they appear. Credit must go to director Tyler Struble for bringing this fantastic assortment of talent into sharp focus, and never allowing the actors’ high-octane energy to drop.


It could be tempting, given the consistent raucous applause and guffawing from the audience throughout the show, to think that this is a play that is purely about laughter, joy and fun. However, although this show does all of that perfectly and leaves audiences completely entertained, I’m Gonna Marry You Tobey Maguire holds real depth of emotion and intriguing social commentary.


Indeed, the show comments on the parasocial relationships of the 21st century and how they can pose both real danger while providing security for people. Shelby is able to project all her wants and dreams onto the fictionalised, polished, non-smoking idol of Tobey Maguire (much to Maguire’s irritation). Indeed, through slowly revealing Shelby’s backstory, Hurley crafts out a picture of a young person grappling with a tumultuous family life, a friendless school life where she is ridiculed by her peers and yet, Shelby finds this safe haven in the world of Tobey Maguire.


I’m Going to Marry You Tobey Maguire is a dazzling display of talent that lures you into its hot-pink, fluffy world of utter hilarity, heartbreak and, of course, lashings of Tobey Maguire.


I’m Gonna Marry You Tobey Maguire is playing at The Southwark Playhouse Borough until the 10th of August, 2024. For tickets and more information, you can follow the link here.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5*)


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Manuel Harlan





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