I take it back. Last week I was bewailing the current lack of outstanding new plays, and now here is one. Laura Wade's contemporary four-hander about souring long-term relationships and RSI (repetitive strain injuries) is very ordinary in a way that proves remarkably touching. In Bijan Sheibani's beautifully acted production, Anna Maxwell Martin's Hayley is a management consultant who, behind the brisk front, is chronically unhappy with her boyfriend, Richard Harrington's Steve. He has become casually hooked on computer games at home and is barely scraping a living as a freelance IT expert. As their relationship malfunctions, they are each tempted to have affairs: Hayley with a businessman, Michael Gould's aggressive then ardently obsessed Greg; Steve with Katherine Parkinson's potentially creepy yet oddly endearing Lydia, a lonely, laid-off secretary who calls him out to her bedsit because her laptop is on the blink.
The set is predominantly grey and the scenario may sound it too. But Wade takes you by surprise with chinks and chasms of vulnerability suddenly appearing in people's armour. The symbolic crippling of Hayley and Steve - both suffering from RSI, their fingers agonisingly seized up - is poignant and surprisingly not heavy-handed. Individual scenes are neatly clipped while the overarching structure stretches out to hopes of healing.
To 11 March, 0870 429 6883Reuse content