a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun), Royal Court

a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun)

Reviewer's Rating

Debbie Tucker Green’s latest outing at The Royal Court is a depiction of moments in the relationships of three couples. A younger couple argue and accuse, venting resentments both petty and banal along with more monumental matters. They discuss their dwindling sex life and their new-born daughter along with petty niggles about the T.V. remote control and bathroom privacy. An older couple, at the end of their relationship, are battered down by the woman’s illness and their perceptions of each other’s ingratitude. Finally, the now mature daughter of the first couple is with the older man from the previous couple and they too parry and bicker as they fail to comprehend each other’s motivations.
Tucker Green is a poetic writer and her use of language here is unusual yet effective. The dialogue is fragmented and often incomplete with sentences left dangling and the subject matter of the characters’ discussions frequently remaining implicit rather than explicit. Initially this feels frustrating and puzzling but it gains momentum and it’s easy to sink into the rhythm. It also becomes clear that the exact subject of discussion isn’t so important but that the language and emotion is the heart of the play. This is both a strength and a weakness as the lack of context and detail can also work against the play at times.
The play is staged on a ‘U’ shaped raised platform around the theatre with the actors moving around the three sides. The audience sits on uncomfortable backless stool in the centre that can be made to spin so that the action can be viewed. This didn’t quite work as apart from being extraordinarily uncomfortable, it’s impossible to always keep both actors in each dialogue in view and feels like a neck cricking tennis match to which you don’t have the best seat.
Compared to previous works by the author such as ‘hang’ or ‘nut’ (she really doesn’t like capital letters) this feels a weaker piece but is still worth investing time in. The five actors are all more than competent and there are some amusing, moving and insightful moments.