Friday, 29 November 2013

First things first. debbie tucker-green and Nadine Marshall are a bloody dream team. I saw Random, tucker-green’s one woman show where Marshall played all characters back in 1998 and spent 30 minutes of a 45 minute show blubbing like a baby (it was a great show, I’m an emotional person, tears are good, stop judging me). nut, currently showing at The Shed at the National Theatre, does the double for the pair; Marshall knows just how to bring her words to life. Harsh, raw, REAL life.

nut, like Random before it, doesn’t deal with a light hearted topic. The focus here is mental health with a dose of self-harm and marriage breakdown for good measure. The opening scene finds Elayne (Marshall) and her friends (Sophie Stanton as Aimee, the gorgeous Anthony Welsh as Devon  and Trey, played by alternating young actors) discussing their funerals; eulogies, the service and so on. The staccato style of writing lends itself to the colloquial voices of the characters, the lines coming hard and fast at the audience, almost like poetry. There is plenty of laughter at the barbed quips thrown, the kind that can only be thrown between close friends, between ex-lovers, between sisters and these are the other characters we meet throughout the 70 minute piece. Ex-wife (Sharleyne Whyte) and Ex-husband (Gershwyn Eustache Jnr) can’t help but antagonise each other and hash over their failings as individuals and as parents trying to deal with raising a child now that they’ve broken down and we see the encircling effects of mental health issues on the wider family when Ex-wife levels the accusation at her sister Elayne, that she is the reason for their marriage failing.

Lisa Marie Hall’s striking set of twisted metal extending from the ceiling is a good match for the subjects explored here; hard, cold, and heavy. The play is as thick and intense as the awful Honey Rose herbal cigarette smoke that fills the space (smoking and cigarettes are pivotal in a hanging off the edge of your seat kinda way – I definitely did that) and the murmours when the penny finally drops ripple through the audience. It doesn’t try to offer any cushioning, there aren’t any tears or soft comforting cuddles on stage, the characters don’t try to proclaim that everything will be okay. Often in these situations, it isn’t okay in the end.
Nut by debbie tucker green
Photograph by Tristram Kenton for The Guardian

Shanika Says: go and see nut at The Shed until the 5th December
N.B The Shed, 'A temporary venue celebrating new theatre that is adventurous, ambitious and unexpected' * is fast becoming one of my favourite theatres.
*Taken from the National Theatre website

No comments:

Post a Comment