Friday, May 24, 2013

Fifty Words, written by Michael Weller and directed by Lawrence Boswell, is the final production in a trio of contemporary American plays at Bath's Ustinov Studio. It's actually, according to the playwright's notes, one of a triology of plays exploring the roles of marriage and infidelity, but stands alone powerfully as a dissection of the Icarus night of one high-flying couple. Rumi could have written the introduction:
A night full of talking that hurts, my worst held-back secrets: Everything has to do with loving and not-loving.
“Is this what couples talk about when their kid has a first sleepover?” Janine wonders to Adam as they reminisce about the blow-job in a taxi the night they met. Lust is only one word for love: Jan thinks we need more, fifty of them like Eskimos have for snow, but this couple can't seem to find the right lexicon as they explore bickering and blame, taunts and rants, recrimination and assault. Jan’s frustration has traditional roots ~ she gave up her career for his ~ but there are enough unpredictable elements to avoid cliche in this provocative insight into that familiar struggle of coupledom: to find intimacy while not stifling individuality.  
What gives this psychological case-study dramatic edge is the constant shadow of the unseen little boy at the sleepover, the final knot between them, like his parents trying and failing to hide from reality. It's a stunning show which will undoubtedly gather stars magnetically: an excellent set by Simon Kenny, superb lighting (Richard Howell) and atmospheric sound (Fergus O'Hare) all work evocatively to support heartbreakingly convincing performances from Richard Clothier and Claire Price, both mesmeric throughout. It's on till 15th June ~ recommended.

Another quick plug for Snapshots at IGNITE Theatre Festival Exeter, a Ripped Script production at The Globe Inn on June 7th of six short plays one of which is mine:
"The Human Angle is a comedy about the difficulty in using theatre as a platform for protest. It's a play with a serious intention but, as Shaw said, life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh. I hope you will laugh, but I hope you'll join the Stop The War Coalition too."

And I have neither excuse nor pretext for ending this post with a burst of UST, as Mills & Boon call their special ingredient of unresolved sexual tension, in this OTT wallow in Regency romance... Watch and weep. And probably eat several chocolates...

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