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Posts Tagged ‘Lisa D’Amour’

110 minutes without an interval is a long time to spend in the uncomfortable Cottesloe seats, so it is a tribute to Lisa D’Amour’s play that I did so gripped by it, without too much figiting.

Detroit is set in a mid-sized American city superb in the present day (not necessarily Detroit, despite its title). Ben is a casualty of the credit crunch, now in the process of setting up his own business; his nervous wife Mary is very worried. Soon after Kenny & Sharon move in next door, they are invited to a BBQ in the back yard where Ben & Mary learn that they met in rehab, which they’ve just left after three months, have rented the house from a relative and have next to no furniture or belongings. Despite the revelation, the friendship develops and each subsequent scene takes place in the adjoining back yards, most over a meal.

As the play unfolds, things are not at all as they seem. Kenny and Sharon’s story starts to unravel, as does Mary! To say more would be to spoil something that does twist and turn satisfyingly, with a terrific climax that includes a great coup  de theatre. The play does have flaws, notably a party scene which is pushed just a bit too far, but it is sharply written, funny and full of surprises. The performances are outstanding. Will Adamsdale is a brilliant bundle of nervous energy as Kenny, finely matched by Clare Dunn’s manic Sharon. Justine Mitchell is superb as Mary, moving from an ordinary suburban wife to a woman in crisis, whilst Stuart McQuarrie has to make Ben a slow burn and does so very convincingly.

I thought the set was a bit tacky – until the coup! – and found the occasional invasion of the stage hands before scenes had fully finished quite bizarre, but it is a fascinating and captivating ride nonetheless and a new play worth seeing – something that you don’t get to say that often in relation to the NT!

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