THEATRE / Six Fools - Old Red Lion, London EC1

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The Independent Culture
The title, according to the programme, comes from Donne: 'I am two fools, I know / For loving and for saying so'. A simple calculation ought to tell you that the six fools are really just three people - an eternal triangle, as it turns out. Here, we only meet four of the fools - faithless husband and betrayed wife - plus their solicitors.

Part of the attraction of Lyall Watson's anatomy of a divorce (subtitled 'A Disease of Our Times') is that, while it doesn't try to scapegoat the law, it does show how legal formalities can refocus and refract emotion, in ways that can be destructive as well as helpful. It shows, too, through Julia Watson and Benny Young's earnest, assured performances, how irrationality and blind hate can sometimes seem like perfectly reasonable consequences of love, and how, without meaning to, parents can turn their children into weapons.

Despite the squeezed timescale (the couple speed through three years of bitterness and uneasy truce in 90 minutes, without a break), the pace is lumpy. There are times when you can afford to drift off for five or 10 minutes without losing your grip on events. And there are some offputting oddities: the lawyers are abruptly reduced to caricature money-grubbing shysters, and there are hints about vibrators and kinky underwear that make you feel this hasn't been quite the ordinary marriage you thought. Still, Watson shows an acute ear, and overall it's a successfully sympathetic drama.

To 19 December (071-837 7816)