Lion & Unicorn Theatre, London
A 75-minute straight through performance is often an intense journey for both the actors and the audience. Like you Hate me is no exception to this. These two extremely talented and perfectly cast actresses Acushia-Tara Kupe and Aimee Kember have one of the most incredible rapports on stage that I have seen in a while.
The stage is dressed with two chairs and two full-length mirrors which sitting in the front row can be daunting as they do not allow you to hide from your own reflection. Adding another level of self-awareness to being part of the front row audience.
The non-specific gender relationship is irrelevant. Neither ever refer to each other by name. Which allows anyone watching the play the ability to relate to all the themes discussed and approached within the play. Seeing element’s of their own past and present relationships from within the performance. Highlighting that using labels for everything is not necessarily important in order to make an impact through a performance.
Prepare to experience a host of emotions as you travel through their toxic and boomerang type relationship. Moments of awkwardness are to be expected as you feel like the voyeur invading deeply personal elements of intimacy and arguments at times during their relationship. As it breaks up to reconnect then break up once again.
The two actresses ended their performance tonight to a huge roar of applause from the audience. Both of whom thoroughly deserved it for their outstanding performances.
The directing skills of Jess Barton capturing the intense performances of the two actresses shows her professional capability of focusing on their skills as actors and bringing out the best of each of them on the stage.
Running alongside with producer Ross Kernahan these two show that they share a passion and vision to bring hard-hitting real-life emotional subjects to the stage. This team deserves to be very proud of this incredibly delicate and emotionally fuelled play.
It is no surprise that Tom Lodge was nominated back in 2017 on a long list for the Bruntwood Prize for this exceptional play. His eye for such detail and hugely mature approach to writing about relationships for a 20 something writer shows huge potential for his future writings.
Performances of this quality which do not rely on expensive props or elaborate costumes are perfect examples of what live theatre has to offer and why the acclaimed Off West End Awards exist. The entire creative teams behind such powerful plays as this one deserve far more credit and higher audience numbers than they currently achieve. I would always actively urge more people to support them.
Four and a half stars.
Photo credit to Ross Kernahan
On from 23rd April to 4th May 2019.
At Lion and Unicorn Pub Theatre
42-44 Gaisford Street