I’m puzzled that this fine play has taken 10 years to get here. Four of playwright Rebecca Gilman’s other plays have made swifter transfers to the Royal Court and this is at least as good as them.
The play opens as a ‘massage parlour’ is raided by two cops. Their incompetence means prosecutions don’t follow, but what does is two unlikely relationships. Doug’s with Heather is all lust and Curt with Sandy more friendship, though it’s this one that is the heart of the play and the one which has most consequences. To say I was surprised how it turned out is a compliment to the writing, but I won’t spoil it.
The play benefits from the intimacy of the Finborough and Che Walker’s direction is subtle and sensitive. James Hillier and Clare Latham as Curt and Sandy, who have to carry the emotional weight of the play, are both terrific. Alexander Gulney and Samantha Coughlan, as Doug and Heather, have to make very different and more transformational journeys and do so extremely well. Kelly Burke provides fine support as Curt’s girlfriend Beth. The American accents are excellent, without benefit of the dialect coaches bigger theatres employ with nowhere near as good results – though Clare Latham is a native speaker!
This is a cleverly structured play with excellent characterisation and its beautifully performed. What more can you ask for? The Finborough on fine form again. - Gareth James
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