New plays by Nick Payne, Ella Hickson, Tom Wells are not to be ignored. New plays by Nick Payne, Ella Hickson, Tom Wells performed together are a major event. New plays by Payne, Hickson, Wells performed together in the middle of a gig? I couldn’t possibly stay away. The set up is unusual and yet simple: we first encounter musicians playing a gig but quickly the songs morph into performed stories and the musicians into actors playing characters. After that, there isn’t much distinction between plays and songs, they are all different points in the same universe.
Similarly, the three plays bleed into each other. Jonesy by Tom Wells recreates the chaotic drive of teenage years, where crashing pressure is only outweighed by optimism and indefatigable energy. (I loved how the adult world in the background was tired and fade, like a shake of the head too small for anyone to notice).
A Love Song for the People of London by Ella Hickson tags along at a daily journey in the streets of London. Simultaneously familiar and fresh, it reminded me of James Graham’s The Man a few years back. A play that only a Londoner can fully appreciate.
My Thoughts On Leaving You by Nick Payne dives into the labyrinth and confusion of relationships and rarely comes up for air. Struggles, betrayals and disappointments become the natural state of two people coming together, not just these people but any two people in the history of relationships. It would have been sad if it wasn’t funny and full of hope.
The four performers, Remy Beasley, Jack Brown, Iddon Jones and Adap Sopp, slide from one place to the next, changing roles, dynamics and positions. They have a charming and profound ease in the roles and with each other, totally irresistible.
New writing company nabocov provides the context for the production, Ed Gaughan the music, Joe Murphy the direction. The performance, both high concept and unpretentious, lives in that twilight zone between real life and theatre. It’s low key but revealed to be rare, like going about London distracted until something catches your eye and takes your breath away.