Monday, 2 February 2015
Theatre review: The Wasp
But in the first of many twists to Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's The Wasp, Heather's request is very different, and it takes the play into a black comedy as the two women try to arrange the perfect crime.
Tom Attenborough's production trusts its two actors to keep the momentum going - it never feels static but isn't afraid to keep its characters locked in still and intense discussion. What seems like it'll be a commentary on class turns out to be more concerned with how our school days poison us throughout our lives.
Matthews is always a joy to watch, here offering an utterly demented worldview wrapped up in a cosy, seemingly reasonable package. Buring provides a more down-to-earth foil, a confidence born of having survived a hard life, but which may be misplaced now.
A couple of the plot revelations are a bit abrupt, but as the play's structure is built on multiple twists and tonal shifting, it pretty much gets away with this. Much of the last half-hour is made up of a deliberately meandering monologue from Heather, which does go round in circles somewhat. And the opening scene sees Buring chain-smoking in the small Hampstead Downstairs space, which makes for a bit of a headachy atmosphere. But these issues aside, The Wasp is inventive and different, and Matthews is as watchable as ever.
The Wasp by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm is booking until the 7th of March at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs.
Running time: 1 hour 25 minutes straight through.