Edinburgh Fringe 2019
Two people in a club notice each other. They find their eyes meeting, his faltering verbal approach almost as clumsy as when he spilled his drink all down her before they go off apart. Giving him her number we are then treated to the will they, why don’t they scenario that develops from blushing to fruitful flogging the opportunity. An embarrassed sexual encounter where they clearly should, ends up with a feeling that they never should have before they split, get back to what they ought not to be doing, only to meet up when they couldn’t and then split into the night. It leaves us with the bow, then a text alert and then we wonder, will they?
This is a truly intriguing two hander that asks as many questions as it tries to ignore. The key for me is in the characterization. The vulnerability that he displays is agonizing. As we watch we can feel that the more he hesitates and the more she teases the further apart they become and more likely it is that they shall not have a long term future. They snatch at happiness between them and rather than finding the ability to be honest with each other about how they feel and they split because that would probably be too painful to admit that to each other.
The narrative and storyline strengthen that as we get the first night where he has to endure the teasing of his mates and she has to rescue her friend from the argument with the bouncer, we follow his need for her. He has just broken up with a long term girlfriend and now she thinks he might be on the rebound. She is having enough sex with a “beneficial” friend but may now be looking for that little bit more. He certainly is and by the time he texts and she replies and they meet again the possibility that they will consummate this is absolute. Their night of consummation ends badly, not that it began well, and he leaves and does not call her up. He knows he should have contacted her but he has left it late enough to become highly embarrassing, they both revert backwards, her with her benefits fully restored and him with his ex. Then they meet again, at the same club and the spark is back but his girlfriend wants him out the club; he goes.
The narrative is at the heart of its strength. Coupled with a snappy direction that manages to use the clear ability of each actor to find the vulnerable in each of their characters this sizzles with anticipation. It refuses to go down the cliched pathway and instead gives us really clever meanderings and wanderings of two people on a night when they should just have talked to each other.
It has truth at its heart and vulnerability as its weapon in the nightmare of finding your soulmate. The writing is crisp with authenticity enough to make you root for each of them whilst wanting to give them both a clip round the ear hole and force them to admit the obvious.
The dancing gives us enough of the club to make the most unlike club surroundings a place we can believe suffers from soulless indiscretions and each actor takes on extra parts to lend a strong performance piece.
It’s a great production and one that I found making me think long after I had left. It’s an old story about unrequited love but from an original and highly creative standpoint.