Between Us

  • Theatre
  • Drama
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© Jeremy Abrahams

'Between Us'

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© Jeremy Abrahams

'Between Us'

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© Jeremy Abrahams

'Between Us'

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© Jeremy Abrahams

'Between Us'

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© Jeremy Abrahams

'Between Us'

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© Jeremy Abrahams

'Between Us'

What’s the difference between a therapist and a comedian? Not a lot, according to Sarah Daniels. Her new play, ‘Between Us’, mixes the observational skills of stand-up and the confessional format of therapy to wrestle with the way we live today. It’s a thought-provoking and insightful play. But in the therapeutic spirit I have to be honest and say there’s something inherently frustrating about it too. Daniels throws up knotty questions, but the narrative she creates around them is too neat to reflect the messy subjects she’s discussing.

Julia is a therapist who is trying her hand at stand-up. She’s actually quite good, her velvet tones and middle-class, middle-aged blonde bob clashing with her increasingly inappropriate material (jokes about her daughter’s cervical smear). Moving from stage to session we hear from two of her clients admitting to and then rationalising past sins – their lives conveniently starting to interlink into a parable about consequences.

Daniels weaves Julia’s stand-up throughout, which sweetens the philosophical pill a little. It also means she can get a bit of the history of inequality – the cornerstone of Julia’s material – into the mix.

Simon Dawes’s set is the very essence of minimalism – a chair and some tissues – while John Burgess directs with effective simplicity, teasing subtle performances from his cast. These are complex, horrible people but they’re also recognisable. In the end, though, it’s hard to really connect with them: they’re not interested in that. So like the mute priest at confession, there’s a sense that their words aren’t for us, and we don’t need to be there.