As I type this up, a bit late as I saw last weekend’s matinee, it’s been confirmed that David Eldridge’s perceptive new play will transfer to the Ambassadors.
After seeing another two-hander, Heisenberg, recently, I found it interesting to compare the two, although Beginning takes place in real-time, in the early hours of the morning after Laura’s housewarming party in Crouch End (in ‘the pesto triangle’).
Danny has been left behind as his mates have picked up a taxi and he fancied another beer, and as it turns out, he might fancy the slightly prickly Laura as well. She in turn is up for sex but not really for anything long-term that includes Danny.
So the play ventures from believable awkward talk, to family revelations, the making of fish-finger sandwiches, a flat clean-up and an awkward bit of making out.
As Laura, Justine Mitchell didn’t quite ring true for me, making me feel her stories of being an MD and of being in a ten-year long previous relationship a bit suspect.
Sam Troughton is more assured as the divorced Danny, who may well be telling tall tales himself to get into this lady’s knickers as quickly as he can – batting away her dreamy description of how the encounter might slowly pan out.
There is a minimal two-room set – table, sofa, beanbag, oven, cupboards. Music is provided before the curtain rises, with wine bottles setting the scene with a nightclub feel, and during one scene via iPod playlist.
The dialogue is sharp and balances cultural references (Strictly) with informal vulgar language. It presents these two people, either side of the cusp of forty, of anything but assured but fairly financially solvent.
Well worth watching, and although it might benefit from a slight trim, the Dorfman pit seats were comfy and there’s a working clock within the set so you can keep tabs on the play’s duration.