"Intriguing puzzle of intimate betrayal"
by Diane Samuels for remotegoat on 12/10/09

In a tacky hotel bedroom, a middle-aged man and woman who have just picked each other up in a bar, discover that they are both already married. With guilty longing they share their desire to be touched, desired and come alive again. In a parallel and identical tacky hotel bedroom another couple echo this pre-coital dance and struggle in the same moments with their betrayals. The words of each couple overlap and interweave and, as the following scenes unravel, it emerges that they are in fact each other's spouses. The consequences of their mutual infidelity are separation and increasing incomprehension as they abandon and try to cling to each other. Strange incidents haunt them: a pair of man's shoes are left on a beach and a neighbour, his face scratched and bleeding, suspiciously dumps a woman's black court shoe.

Writer Andrew Bovell has created an ensemble play that criss-crosses like a word puzzle. The cast of two male and two female actors enigmatically inhabit nine characters who connect, confide, disconnect and deceive, each encounter echoing what goes before and after. John Simm, Ian Hart, Lucy Cohu and Kerry Fox play off each other with cool grace and manage to suggest the depths of their longing for some kind of trust and closeness whilst driven to do the opposite. Ordinary gestures become strangely compelling: a swivel of the hips, a sip from a beer, fingers on a phone receiver. No grand emotion here, but a sense of swallowed feeling coming up in spasmodic gulps. This is a contemporary play for grown ups that is reminiscent of Marber's "Closer", embracing a fragmented emotional landscape whilst revealing the
ways in which people are unexpectedly linked together.

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