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Brilliant, darkly hilarious new play about a couple struggling with loss and awful neighbours
'Right Now’ feels like it fell from Mars, and I mean that as a compliment. More accurately, it actually came from Quebec. Playwright Catherine-Anne Toupin’s show about a couple rocked by loss, whose lives are invaded by uninvited guests, has been translated by Christopher Campbell. His version of the text is immediate whilst also retaining all of the play’s wobbly otherness. As a piece of writing, it’s pure, weird beauty.
The quality of the words are met by a stunning production from Michael Boyd, which is set in a living room that on first sight looks like the sort of minimalist pad you’d like to live in if London rents didn’t mean all you can afford is a shed. On closer inspection, it’s like a soulless showroom in Ikea. Here Alice, played with a naked vulnerability by Lindsey Campbell, can hear her dead baby crying but doesn’t speak about it with anyone.
The fact that her husband Ben wears a lanyard and carries a satchel seems to say everything about his plodding existence, and Sean Biggerstaff plays him with an awkwardness that suggests he doesn’t know what to do about any of this. Even more so when the rowdy neighbours pop in, insisting that they wouldn’t want to impose, before asking Alice and Ben whether they still love each other.
As the neighbours, Maureen Beattie and Guy Williams offer performances of comic absurdity, telling their son Francois with unapologetic brazenness that they wish he was dead. Dyfan Dwyfor’s performance as their neglected son builds to a crescendo that cracks the play open, startling us into realizing that his damage has been hiding in plain sight.
There are a thousand things going on at once here, but the writing and the cast are so good that the play’s many layers never feel like too much. If you like big laughs spiked with some serious human trauma this is unmissable.
BY: TESSIE JOHNSON