A turquoise room and fluorescent lights, 3 women and 2 men on the edges dressed casually. We are on swivel chairs below elevated walkways. It somehow feels clinical though you can’t ignore the beauty of rich turquoise walls and brown skin against them.
The walls are rendered chalkboards with lines and spheres are drawn onto them. The curious eeriness of the sound of chalk making its mark, the scratching before the break-broken speech that playwright, director debbie tucker green is renowned for establishing. The interaction between the couples is visceral and feels voyeuristic as if we are peeping Toms and yet simultaneously it could be any of our living rooms.
The tenderness and tension between characters is superb. It is those days that are so full of love and loving… it is every difficult conversation you have ever had with someone you love intensely… it is the way they know you and don’t. How you have fallen into the contempt of familiarity or miss those moments when everything seemed so fresh and untainted, so full of love and loving.
What green has as a writer, is that balance of just enough show and just enough tell. Having read the play text, there are a number of significant revisions and the stage presentation of, a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun) is better for it; the luxury of being both writer and director gives us the richness of cohesion. At times the expanse of space between the actors and the audience is clever but also gives off a slightly unfocused approach, which made it feel like the potential of the set design was ignored.
The three couples are represented extremely well, but by far it is the magnetism of Lashana Lynch (Crims, Fast Girls) and Gershwyn Eustache Jnr (Starred Up, The Royale) which stays in your consciousness both during, and after the performance. They are the exemplars for the show’s title, and what a show it is.
With known actors Meera Syal (Doctor Strange, Broadchurch) and Gary Beadle (Silent Witness, EastEnders) as part of the cast, the show has garnered much attention to the point profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun) is currently sold out. Unsurprisingly as anything by green is worth watching (hang, truth & reconciliation, second coming). The good news is that there are a small number of tickets being released each Monday. It’s worth queuing in person or on the phone to get one.
a profoundly affectionate, passionate devotion to someone (-noun) by debbie tucker green, runs at The Royal Court theatre until Saturday April 1st 2017.
The show is currently sold out, but £12 Monday tickets are released online at 9am each Monday from 13 March. Find out more info about the Monday tickets here.
The Royal Court operate an in-person waiting list for returns from one hour before each performance. You can find more information on their returns queue system here.