Lunch (Re:Play - Salford)
Berkoff's Lunch is slightly too pretentious for Julia Taylor at the Lowry.
Stephen Berkoff's Lunch is a little too arty for me. It's almost as though a portrait of the couple who meet for the first time on a bench overlooking the sea in their lunch hour, has been brought to life. Indeed, the protagonists, Susie Milne, the woman and Adam Urey, the man, make good use of silence and stillness in between bouts of emotion. The writer's language is beautiful. Take his description of the sea: It "churns in, chasing itself, not boiling or seething." Much of the play contains such lines which defy the animal instincts below the veneer.
The opening sound of the sea, compellingly reproduced by Peter Wright, sets the scene for the actors' performance. Even before they talk, their hormones react and they speak their thoughts about one another out loud. The play lasts just 45 minutes and during that time, we follow them from courtship to copulation and its aftermath as the relationship and the passion cool.
Both actors wear white masks, a theatrical tradition going back to the Greeks though it is hard to work out their significance in this production.Uray produces some violent reactions to his frustrations and Milne blows hot and cold in her reaction to him.
There is no doubt that the writer has a way with words but some deep emotions do not require words and this is well illustrated.
At the end, we think "What now?"
Lunch is at the Lowry as part of the Library Theatre's Re:Play Festival until 25 January.
- Julia Taylor