Above the Stag Theatre (venue)
08 November 2019 (released)
09 November 2019
For those that remember coming out in the 1990's, this is a poignant portrayal of those times. When accepting ones sexuality was a complex and at times a dangerous affair. In the shadow of the recent attack on a lesbian couple on a London bus, this play has a strong currency. Therefore, a very pertinant choice of play by Andrew Beckett in his first season as Artistic Director.
It centres around a beautifully observed lesbian relationship that fumbles and stutters into being, only to be crushed when they are both attacked late at night leaving one of them in a coma. Diana Son's play is now 20 years old and yet it still zings with beautifully crafted dialogue that draws us into the girls lives with subtlety and wit. Suzanne Boreel as Callie is seeming happy in her detritus and her long time job as a helicopter traffic reporter. Into her life comes Sarah played by Kara Taylor Alberts, who moves to New York with her cat, and high hopes for her teaching job in the Bronx. They are such different people that any sort of relationship would seem extremely unlikely. Their totally engaging performances are what gives this play its real heart.
Time shifts seamlessly between the aftermath of the attack and the girl's developing relationship. It is a clever device to be introduced to the climatic attack at the beginning. This leads the audience to fear a tragic end as we grow to care about both girls. The set by Anna Reid and direction by Rafaella Marcus enable this beautifully.
Two stand out story moments are the awkward negotiation of a sleepover between the girls, and the confrontation between Peter, Sarah's ex-boyfriend (Alfie Webster) and Callie. The first is one of the most humorous moments. The later is chillingly played out, showing how impossible struggling for acceptance can be.
A thought provoking poignant and witty little masterpiece.