Speaking in Tongues

This event has now finished. Until Dec 12 2009

Time Out says  

Posted: Thu Oct 8 2009

In this sassy four-hander, Andrew Bovell makes full use of both interpretations of his title: his characters are locked in mutual incomprehension but they hope that physical contact will take them further than speech can. So they cheat on their spouses - or try to; manipulate their therapists; write to long-lost lovers; and, in one case, cause terrible damage to the people whose lives they are supposed to enhance.

The play, which Bovell converted into the stunning film 'Lantana', actually began life as two playlets, and the join still shows. But, given that it's largely about intimacy and the holes that pock it, that's not necessarily a disadvantage. After the interval the coherence of the first act, in which two couples cheat, or attempt to cheat, on their spouses, disintegrates like a damaged marriage.

A woman is missing; another woman sees her male neighbour shiftily disposing of a female shoe; and the chain of mistrust tightens round all nine characters. John Simm, Ian Hart, Kerry Fox and Lucy Cohu deal deftly with all this do-si-do-ing, and the bare brick set is nicely offset by some artfully deployed film footage. The story may be a bit murky at points for those who haven't seen 'Lantana', but then theatre is more tolerant of open-endedness than cinema. In that, when it comes to the misdeeds that proliferate in relationships, it's a lot closer to real life.

Duke of York's Theatre details

Duke of York's Theatre, St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4BG

Duke of York's Theatre

The Duke is where Puccini saw 'Madame Butterfly' and decided to write the opera; JM Barrie premiered 'Peter Pan' and Al Pacino wowed British...

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