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This Is How It Goes

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
Neil LaBute’s quirky love triangle play, taking its title from one of Aimee Mann’s most haunting and enigmatic songs, was seen at the Donmar Warehouse five years ago with Ben Chaplin and Megan Dodds.

Even in this underpowered revival, it still offers a timely post-script (pre-script?) to Clybourne Park in its study of an ethnically mixed marriage, an abusive relationship and deep-dyed racism.

Cody Phipps was the school champion athlete, the only black guy in the class. He married the apple-pie pretty cheerleader, Belinda. They have two small children and live in the suburbs, buttressed by family wealth.

Their story is interrupted, and narrated, with alternative versions, by an unnamed young man who was besotted with Belinda but bullied by Cody because he was obese. Slimmed down, he became a lawyer, but has lost his job. He finds Belinda in a shopping mall and is taken in as a lodger.

LaBute’s subtle, beautifully controlled writing is unmatched in Seb Billings’s flaccid production. Peachy blonde Hollyoaks star Gemma Atkinson, Okezie Morro as Cody and Tom Greaves as the rangy interloper are well cast; but the performances need more punch, more grit, more volume; and ten minutes off the playing time.


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