WORTH A LOOK?: **1/2
WHERE: Young Vic (The Maria)
WHEN: runs to 17/10
The most remarkable thing about this revival is the involving way it is staged. At first we see the two former lovers’ faces on screens before us as they sit on a platform above us with their backs to the audience, acting out what we see on screen.
In the final half hour the lovers sit in the middle of the Maria’s boxing ring-type area (used so memorably in Mike Bartlett’s Bull which returns to the YV later this year) and the audience is either invited to move their chairs and sit with them ‘onstage’ or to stand outside the ‘ring’.
If this all sounds like more audience participation than you’re prepared for at a night/afternoon out at the theatre, don’t worry – it’s not as painful as it sounds. In fact, it’s a device which allows us to best inhabit the same space as the lovers here, played by Sam Troughton (who was especially good in Bull, written by the author of Doctor Foster which concludes on BBC1 tonight) and Emily Barclay.
We weren’t especially keen on the play by Marguerite Duras which tells the story of a couple who reunite after they separated to finalise their divorce. It seems too intent to shock and felt dated. Far better is the acting in this two-hander and most memorable is the staging, something the Young Vic is becoming renowned for.
In the last 12 months we’ve seen Gillian Anderson mesmerise on a revolving stage in A Streetcar Named Desire, the aforementioned Bull, A Number (far better staged than it deserved), the brilliantly imagined Happy Days and the Rory Kinnear-starrer The Trial which divided critics all here at perhaps London’s hippest theatre venue. The Young Vic’s always worth a visit, even when the material as here is not quite so stellar.