Lobster

Theatre, Drama
2 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

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This same-sex love story lacks bite

Even as shows about gay men gain more visibility, it’s still all too rare to see a love story between two women on London’s stages. For that reason, at least, feminist theatre company Snapper Theatre’s ‘Lobster’ – which opens Theatre503’s new season – is a welcome sight.

Exes J and K run into each other at a party. As they grapple with the shock of this, they relay to the audience how they first met, fell in love and broke up.

Writer Lucy Foster’s first full-length play has some touching and funny moments. There is a basic truth at its heart about how often we try to plaster over the cracks and gaps in our own lives with someone else.

But even as the writing fills up with contemporary references to dating apps, J (relentlessly upbeat) and K (emotionally guarded) never feel like real people. They’re archetypes we’ve seen countless times before. The rhyming names lunge at rom-com cuteness.

Foster skims over J’s Christianity and – other than a brief mention of the legalisation of gay marriage – the pair exist in a vacuum. There’s no real attempt to touch on the specific reality of being queer and dating in London.

This would matter less if both the play and this production committed to its heightened tenor. But director Kayla Feldman’s attempts to force emotion into several scenes via a soundtrack of heavy-handedly maudlin songs just feels like strong-arming.

Louise Beresford and Alexandra Reynolds give heartfelt, committed performances as K and J, but they’re hampered by the play’s insistence on ‘universal’ appeal, which sacrifices detail for broad brush strokes.

The result is ironically distancing, intensified by the characters’ asides to the audience. These feel increasingly strained and unearned – and, at worst, twee. Sadly, ‘Lobster’ feels like a bit of a wasted opportunity.

By: Tom Wicker

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