The One, theatre review: Joyless sex turns to power games in savage portrayal of relationship
Soho Theatre, London
Tuesday 04 March 2014
Vicky Jones's award-winning debut play is a savage, uncomfortably funny dissection of a relationship in which desire has turned to destructiveness.
The opening scene – joyless sex while watching porn and scoffing Wotsits – establishes the boredom that Rufus Wright's Harry, an achingly smug lecturer and his younger partner and former pupil Jo (Phoebe Waller-Bridge) try to counter by competing to see who can be the crueller.
These power-games start off as juvenile and joky but after the late-night arrival of the distressed Kerry (Lu Corfield), an old flame of Harry's who claims to have been “sort of raped” by her boyfriend, they become ugly and physical.
Waller-Bridge is excellent as the snarky Jo, a woman whose intelligence has gone toxic on her and she and Wright powerfully evoke the sort of couple who are simultaneously ideal and a disaster for each other.
A victim of domestic violence might find this privileged pair's vicious role-playing flirtation with the limits of the consensual a mite self-indulgent, but the piece, premiered in Steve Marmion's knowing, incisive production (ironically suffused with “The Music of the Night”) shows daring as it treads its own risky line between apparently callous comedy and compassion.
A highly disconcerting 70 minutes.
To March 30; 020 7478 0100
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 3 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens trailer: The most extreme fan reactions on Twitter
Doctor Who film will definitely happen, leaked Sony emails reveal
The Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer has leaked – watch
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a white stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Russian warships in English Channel 'to conduct anti-aircraft and anti-submarine military drills'