Down the black lacquered stairs we go into the basement nightclub. The floor is striped with blue neon, the ceiling slashed with pink, a DJ plays Lady Gaga. We take our seats on leather sofas around the dancefloor.
This is the setting for the latest play from Ella Hickson, at 25, a rising star of British theatre, courted by the Royal Court, the BBC and Working Title thanks to her 2008 debut Eight. The cast of Eight returns to play four twentysomethings on a long, sticky night out. Hickson's production makes good use of the club setting with a soundtrack of Plan B and Kings of Leon and a hilarious tribute to Dirty Dancing. The main attraction, though, is Hickson's writing. She has a gorgeous way with words and a head full of bewitching ideas.
Polo and Twitch are twins with only one heart between them. Twitch got it and now all she can do is love. Endlessly falling for boys, she's endlessly disappointed. In revenge, she likes to leave her mark on lost loves like an unwanted tattoo. Polo, on the other hand, is clinically – and otherwise – heartless. Back on their island home to celebrate their 25th birthdays with Jacqui (vivacious Kerri Hall) and Twitch's new boyfriend Billy (sweetly understated Solomon Mousley), as the night unfolds, each of the quartet reveals a different idea of what love means.
Gwendolen Chatfield and Michael Whitham are beguilingly odd as the twins and Hot Mess weaves an intoxicating spell about love, loss and growing up. Hickson remains a red-hot one to watch.
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