Reviewed – 1st July 2019
“Foster and Lams communicate this physical and emotional closeness with heartbreaking conviction”
Everybody needs a little escape from the ordinariness of life once in a while. But how long do you get until life starts to creep back in?
Nadia and Daniel are just starting out together. They’re at the good bit, at the beginning when everything is fun and exciting; they’re kind to each other, they feel passionately about one another. And they’re both married. Rather than telling the story of the people waiting at home, Kenny Emson takes the road less travelled and instead explores the emotional toll for those within the affair.
From the very beginning this relationship is doomed to beget pain and anguish. Even as Nadia and Daniel agree on eleven rules (“one better than God”) in order to protect themselves, they almost immediately start breaking them. But what is most touching and unusual about this story is the palpable affection they have for one another. We know that both parties have oblivious partners and innocent children; that they’re constantly lying to the people they love, but somehow, we’re still rooting for them.
Stripping it back to a pile of pillows and a few neon lights, Eleanor Rhode’s direction leans mostly on good story-telling and strong performances from both Jon Foster (Daniel) and Claire Lams (Nadia). We’re privy to the kinds of unabashed conversations you’d have only in the seclusion of the bedroom, but Foster and Lams communicate this physical and emotional closeness with heartbreaking conviction.
That being said, the design (Max Johns) is deceptively simple, the white stack of pillows providing a hiding place for multiple small but instrumental accessories to the narrative. Neon lighting (Jess Bernberg) hanging vertically serves to alter the mood drastically throughout the play, taking us from candle-lit intimacy to bare-bulb severity.
Though the entire story takes place in a small one-bed flat, the narrative scope is huge. An understated tragedy, beautifully written and well executed.
Reviewed by Miriam Sallon
Photography by Helen Murray
Bush Theatre until 27th July
Previously reviewed at this venue: