A scintillating snapshot into the surreptitious side to adult coupling: Lunch and The Bow of Ulysses ★★★

After director Nigel Harman read this duo of rarely performed one-act plays a few years ago, he was struck with the dark humour they contained and with some clever manipulation, has fixed them together for a scintillating snapshot into the surreptitious side to adult coupling.

The two playlets come from the celebrated pen of Steven Berkoff, known for his poetically vulgar commentary and feature a couple from their very first meeting, on a bench by the sea. We are not given an explanation as to why either is there and, in fact, the characters are only known, as ‘Man’ and ‘Woman’, but it is obvious that both are looking for an enhancement to their otherwise mundane existence.

A sweaty and unappealing Shaun Dooley, whose desperation for attention is played out with an almost stalker-like edge, delivers Berkoff’s ranting monologues with a potent physicality. Emily Bruni’s estuarine drawl quells much of his positive advancement, but a sudden impulsive over familiarity results in a surprising outcome.

Written 20 years later and set after the couple have long since lost the flurry of first lust, The Bow of Ulysees, is aptly performed at a slower pace, with a steely stillness to the couple, who have swapped an effervescent youthful need for downright contempt for both the world and each other.

With some very whimsical moments and a whole bunch of uncomfortable interludes, Lunch and The Bow of Ulysses at the intimate Trafalgar Studio2 make for an entertaining, yet almost insufferable hour an a half.

Lunch and The Bow of Ulysses continues at Trafalgar Studio2 until 5th November. If you would like any further details, you can visit the website http://www.atgtickets.com

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