WORTH A LOOK?: ****
RUNTIME: 75 minutes (no interval)
WHEN?: Matinee Saturday 31 July, runs to 4 August 2021
On 19 September Emma Corrin will discover whether she has won an Emmy to add to her Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana in The Crown.
- Read on for reasons including how Anna X is an impressive piece of new writing imaginatively staged
She’s an actress who has become well known for 1 role and so when her West End debut was announced in this two-hander with Nabhaan Rizwan (also making his West End debut and best known for TV’s Informer and Industry), it was always going to be interesting whether she could convince in a role other than the 1 for which she became best known.
The good news is that Corrin speaks as the titular character Anna predominantly throughout the show in a Russian accent, although she does play multiple parts, as Rizwan does, and we do get fleetingly to hear the cutglass British accent for which she is best known. Although the physical resemblance to Diana remains, the difference in character could not be more stark.
Anna X is a new play written by Joseph Charlton and directed by Daniel Raggett which debuted at London’s VAULT Festival and is a fictional imagining inspired by real-life events.
It’s titular character meets Rizwan’s Ariel as they dance in a nightclub both apparently under the influence of drugs and, although they are struggling to hear what the other is saying, we can read their words illuminated on a screen above their heads.
The staging of this one act play is one of the things which make it so distinctive with the actors performing against backdrops projected on a screen behind them and occasionally sitting on boxes littering the stage. It’s an absolute triumph not least when the visuals peel back and the audience can see how little scenery the actors are actually working with.
Two-handers rely on both actors working well together and we’re delighted to report that there is a chemistry here. Corrin’s Anna is a social media high flyer who is seeking investment for an art project while Rizwan’s Ariel has made his money from a dating app he is dismissive of and falls easily under Anna’s spell.
Author Charlton is a journalist turned playwright and part of the success of this new play is not only that it seems so believable but it’s also very now with its emphasis on the hollowness of social media for propelling its protagonist into the social standing with which she finds herself.
The bad news is that this satisfying and challenging new play is about to close in London although we suspect that it would next find a happy next home on Broadway should the opportunity to transfer arise.