“He's so beautiful,” says Leigh after their first night together. There you have it. A lady who loves not wisely but too well.
Georgia Fitch's debut 70-minute two-hander, first seen at the Bush in its Naked Talent season has since taken flight. After its London sell-out, it's just been seen in Japan, clearly opening eyes as to what is really going down in 21st-century Britain. This revival prefaces the beginning of an international tour.
And Adrenalin...Heart, whatever its shortcomings, feels absolutely as if it's been scraped out of raw truth. You can imagine these conversations taking place on any street or inner city tower block. This is how unequal relationships look and feel. Leigh wants to keep her man and to appear 'cool'. So she dives into areas of behaviour – in this case, 'progressing' from 'e' to heroin – only to find herself ensnared on the horns of love and sex addiction quite as much as dragged down by the pulling power of coke and smack.
So far so good. Fitch's flinty, punchy shorthand dialogue moves us swiftly through moods and modes, from inner thoughts to park benches, from monologue to two-way confrontations in an eyeblink.
In the experienced hands of Bush artistic director Mike Bradwell, the production is smoothly minimalist – a table and four chairs suffice against Martin Reynolds' hazy screen with a hint of a tower-block and bathed in the seductive pinks and greens of Tanya Burns' primary colour lighting.
Replacing Julia Ford in the original production, Fiona Bell's Leigh is a study in controlled disintegration, all the more heart-breaking for its restraint as she loses control of herself and, ultimately, her children, who are taken into care.
A cautionary tale (our prisons are crowded with women doing time for drug-related petty offences), Mark Monero, repeating his role as Angel, is bravely feckless, heartless and laconic. And that ultimately, is Adrenalin...Heart's presiding problem. It confirms a black stereotype whilst purporting to take risks. All the same, an astonishing debut.
- Carole Woddis