Vaudeville Theatre, London – until 12 September 2021
Guest reviewer: Donna Easton
Ah, after not setting foot in a theatre since March last year, the anticipation for this production replaced my usual butterflies of excitement with whacking great flapping birds that consumed my body and when I flipped down the red velvet seat (oh the feeling), I was fit to burst and the energy of the audience was palpable. I had a flash of a thought, ‘Oh please don’t let this be an anti-climax’, and in the safe hands of the Donmar Warehouse production team, I needn’t have worried. In fact, it was more than I could have wanted.
We meet Manuel (Omari Douglas) and Roland (Russell Tovey) in this delicious two-hander housed in the buzzing, pulsating and flickering world where the actors pull the audience through a quantum multiverse world of possibilities where “every choice, every decision you’ve ever and never made exists in an unimaginably vast ensemble of parallel universes”.
Douglas is just a dream to watch with Manuel’s dialogue seemingly coming from the depths of his soul with just the most sublime physical storytelling whilst Tovey’s Roland cuts a steady contrast that makes the pairing utterly compelling.
Nick Payne’s writing transports us from giggly, light and fizzy dialogue to the dark shades of terminal illness and euthanasia as we see multiple journeys not ending in the not inevitable… I think… *reaches for Quantum Physics for beginners*.
With the dialogue moving at such pace the moment that packs a firm punch is a scene played purely in BSL. Now, I cannot sign or understand sign language, but every word of this scene is possibly the loudest and clearest of the entire production and as I felt the whole audience pull in as a collective energy, the tears started to flow.
Needless to say, this play did not disappoint for my first trip back to the theatre and as I was revelling in my gratitude for a world where we are able to watch live action again, I started to daydream of a parallel me watching a play in a world that had never even heard of Covid-bastard-19.
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