We don’t know where the play is taking place and we don’t know anybody’s name. But we don’t need to and you might not even notice until the end. The play will keep you hypnotised.
One of the most distinctive aspects of the performance is that it does not feature a narrator or monologues, only dialogues between Her and Him and occasionally with social service personnel. But that is not a disadvantage – the characters’ actions are told in an incredibly understandable way that the audience does not need more explanation than listening to the conversations going on.
There is real depth and development in the characters. They are not just defined by one characteristic or by one situation, but actually as full rounded human beings with ups and downs and changing responsibilities. Both Helen Budge (Her) and James Clay (Him) are doing an amazing job with every move they make and every word they say.
The staging is quite minimalistic with an array of concrete looking blocks. At first, they might seem too minimalistic, but hey are put to good use and the audience gets a good sense of location.
The official description of the play states, “This isn’t poverty porn; there’s nothing sexy about despair”. And that is true. The script is incredibly respectful because it does not show any of the characters in their most vulnerable moments. Substance abuse does not happen on stage, we are told about it through dialogue. Therefore we only hear what a person would actually say to others and not a detailed description of their inner life. That makes the characters so relatable and had the audience forget about everything off-stage.
This is seventy-five minutes that feel like twenty, because Kicked in the sh*tter is just so good.