Tuesday, 5 November 2013
theatre review: nut
in the more naturalistic second act an ex-husband (gershwyn eustace jr) is in his ex-wife's (sharlene whyte) flat, waiting for their daughter to return for the one day a week he has custody. they bicker over their past together and argue over how best to raise their child.
the final act sees elayne and the ex-wife meet, and it starts to become clear who these various people are, and how they're connected. if parts of the play have been occasionally baffling until then it's quite satisfying to see them click together, even if some of the links haven't been set up beforehand quite as clearly as they could have.
there's something unnerving about marshall's central performance as the troubled elayne, balanced nicely by stanton's no-nonsense (to the point of cruelty) aimee and later the more grounded, sometimes witty ex-wife. cigarettes are a recurring theme and the smoke mingles with a memorable set from lisa marie hall - like a piece of modern sculpture, a huge mobile made of rusting girders whose moving parts bring to the stage parts of the two women's kitchens.
nut's very nature means it can at times have a frustrating disjointedness to it, but it's interesting to see a play take on mental health issues and how they affect not just the sufferer but those around them too; and to approach the subject from quite an oblique angle.
nut by debbie tucker green is booking until the 5th of december at the national theatre's shed.
running time: 1 hour 15 minutes straight through.