by Lisa Carroll
dir Bethany Pitts
with Elf Lyons, Nicholas Armfield
design Cara Evans
lighting Peter Small
Arcola Theatre, Dalston • 10.May-10.Jun.23
It's a chronicle of a relationship, and it opens with Rachel (Lyons) awkwardly but cutely meeting Nick (Armfield) at a party. Their tentative one-night stand becomes an ongoing sex-based connection, then begins to shift into a relationship. Wounded by her drunken lout of a father and a recent breakup from a guy who cheated on her, Rachel isn't ready to trust the open-hearted nice-guy Nick, so she asks him to trust her instead. He enjoys letting her be dominant, but while she finds the security that's missing from her freelance work-life, he wants more.
Both actors are excellent, balancing the verbal and physical banter within characters who are both likeable and compelling. Lyons plays up Rachel's sardonic wit and resistance to affection, leading to an astonishing extended monolog that's delivered brilliantly as a spiralling list of grievances that are funny, honest and also rather cheap shots. By contrast, Armfield gives Nick an authenticity that's remarkably endearing. His only flaw is being too accommodating, as it were.
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photos by Charles Flint • 20.May.23