Theatre503, London – until 20 January 2018
Lucy Foster’s play is a heartfelt and tender love story, examining the pressures of modern life through the eyes of two women who desperately want to cling on to each other even at the cost of their personal happiness…
The last thing you expect walking into the auditorium of this warmly affectionate if ultimately heartbreaking play by Lucy Foster is to be confronted by balloons spelling out ‘Happy fucking whatever’ – but given the increasing pressure felt by both characters the statement actually gives an insight into the frustration that both feel by the end of the play.
From early on in Lobster, it couldn’t be made any clearer that K and J couldn’t be any more different in their attitudes towards life and what they want from it. K is very straight-laced and focused on her career, but at the same time, she is cynical and uncertain of her future. In contrast to this, J is apparently confident and happy, wanting to settle down and have a family. But it is clear that each of them has insecurities and anxiety that threatens to break their relationship apart.
Kayla Feldman’s production is wonderfully warm and really brings the characters to life in an intimate way that compliments Foster’s humorous script. But the production also really draws out the K and J’s pain as their minor squabbles turn into something more serious and show how far apart they are coming. This is particularly seen when K tries to get J to express her own opinion rather than going along with her thoughts, while J tries to encourage K to think better of herself and not to be so cynical.
Foster’s play ultimately shows that while another person can bring out the very best in us, it can also mean that we re-evaluate our relationships with those around us – as is the case here. But it also makes the point that in trying to be what the other person wants us to be we hide parts of who we really are – such as the fact that J hides the job offer to work in another country from K because she knew she wouldn’t want to go and J has become too dependent on K.
The production has two excellent contrasting performances that compliment each other well. Louise Beresford as K is tightly wound up with hints of vulnerability that come through occasionally. Her character is emotionally complex and Beresford delivers a fully rounded performance that shows her inner conflict well. Meanwhile, Alexandra Reynolds as J is endearing,showcasing the character’s neediness well as well as the emotional pain she is trying to hide. Both characters have elements that the audience can really relate to.
While by the end of the play, it feels as though certain points seem to be overly emphasised that can become slightly frustrating, there is no denying this is a funny and affectionate play and production.
Lobster continues to play at Theatre503 until the 20th January. For more information visit: https://theatre503.com/whats-on/lobster/.