by Debbie Tucker Green.
The Shed Upper Ground South Bank SE1 9PX To 5 December 2013.
Tue-Sat 8pm Mat Sat 3.30pm.
Captioned 26 Nov.
Runs: 1hr 10min No interval.
TICKETS 020 7452 3000.
Review: Carol Woddis 30October.
Debbie Tucker Green writes like no one else, her voice distinctive, unique, Her subjects are myriad and diverse: Aids, human rights abuses abroad, random killings at home.
In the National’s temporary building, The Shed, her latest, `nut’ (all her titles are written in lower case) her focus is once again domestic although to describe it as such hardly does her justice. One can imagine `nut’ being staged practically anywhere, so universal the themes she is attempting to draw out although to say precisely what the subject of `nut’ might be is also elusive. It might be the antagonisms we bear one another, legacies, parenting. Then again maybe none of these things. What’s sure is Tucker Green’s ability to create theatrical tension and atmosphere out of dialogue, as if Pinter, Beckett, Gertrude Stein and African-American writer Ntozake Shange had all meshed together. But then again, her voice is none of these.
A woman sits on a chair under a set that resembles both an art installation yet with its girders and wooden rafters could suggest a loft, an inner London or urban dwelling. She’s surrounded by papers, bric-a-brac. She wears an African type turban and is arguing in the truncated, half Caribbean, half street dialect of today with a white `friend’ (the wondrous Sophie Stanton) though friend is hardly the word. The subject of their bickering is death, funerals, who will be invited, who won’t and how each will be remembered.
Watching it is like watching a metronome of cadences. Tucker Green directing her own production has wrought such a level of concentration from her cast that even, as happened at the first preview, when the fire alarm sounded for a full two minutes, Sharlene Whyte and Gershwyn Eustache, embroiled in a parental squabble over custody of their daughter barely missed a beat.
Somewhere in `nut’, the issue of drugs is touched on. Smoking extraordinarily here becomes a litmus paper of distrust, a barrier, a dare and a boundary-breaker. Will Elayne – Nadine Marshall, a Tucker Green regular – survive some unspecified internal demon.
It’s hard to know. You just know you have been watching something rare, witty, poetic and disturbing.
Elayne: Nadine Marshall.
Aimee: Sophie Stanton.
Devon: Anthony Welsh.
Trey: Tobi Adetunji/Zac Fitzgerald/Jayden Fowora-Knight.
Ex-Wife: Sharlene Whyte.
Ex-Husband: Gershwyn Eustache Jr.
Director: Debbie Tucker Green.
Designer: Lisa Marie Hall.
Lighting: Tim Mitchell.
Sound: Emma Laxton.
Music: Matthew Scott.
Movement: Polly Bennett.
Company Voice work: Jeannette Nelson.
World Premiere ofnut at The Shed London 30 October 2013.