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by Debbie Tucker Green.
3 Stars ***

Jerwood Upstairs, the Royal Court Theatre, 50-51 Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AS to 1 April 2017.

Mon- Sat 7.45pm Mat Thu & Sat 3pm.

Runs 80 mins No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7565 5000.
Review: William Russell 13 March.

Kb>Love is not always easy

This is one of those plays one respects, but finds hard to enjoy – something not helped by the staging which is interesting but perverse, ensures dreadful sight lines so that characters are repeatedly obscured, and involves perching on extremely uncomfortable swivel stools.

Merie Hensel’s setting looks good initially, but gets wearing after a few moments. The space has been converted into a kind of shoe box with green blackboard walls. Around the room is an elevated walkway on which the five characters, three women and two men, prowl stopping occasionally to inscribe circles and lines on the “blackboards” the reason for which escaped me, but is presumably of great significance.

The audience is penned in the middle, a bit like cacti in the desert. The play examines a series of relationships, or possibly the same one at different stages, with sensitivity and oddly poetic language, all broken sentences, unfinished remarks, with the occasional lyrical outburst.

The cast is extremely good and since Debbie Tucker Green directed it she presumably got what she wanted – certainly she has elicited strong playing. The five are essentially ciphers known as Man, B, A, Young Woman and Woman. While it proved occasionally tedious the final encounter between Young Woman and Man – she is having a relationship with someone old enough to be her father – is very affecting indeed and the play is worth catching for anyone interested in new writing trying new things.

Man: Gary Beadle.
B: Gershwyn Eustache Jr.
A: Lashana Lynch.
Young Woman: Shvorne Marks.
Woman: Meera Syal.

Director: Debbie Tucker Green.
Designer: Merie Hensel.
Lighting Designer: Lee Curran.
Sound Designer: Christopher Shutt.
Movement Director: Vicki Manderson.
Costume Supervisor: Sabrina Cuniberto.23

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