Following a critically acclaimed run at Hampstead Theatre, Richard Bean’s two-hander Kiss Me has transferred to Trafalgar Studios and with the pairing of Claire Lams and Ben Lloyd-Hughes reprising their roles, the thought provoking 1920’s drama promises to be another hit, writes Nicky Sweetland.
Set post World War I, when Britain is reeling from the loss of so many men, the story follows Stephanie, a 32-year-old widow, desperate for a child. Her plight is recognised by Dennis, who has taken it upon himself to impregnate husbandless women.
Ben Lloyd-Hughes told us, “This play asks the questions about what this scenario would be like and what happens if they also have a connection.”
But, Ben’s character isn’t just an opportunistic Lothario and Ben explains, “You’ll really find out what’s going on inside his head and his justification for doing it. There’s a lot more hidden there and there’s a lot more to do with the war and his own guilt”
Film fans know Ben Lloyd-Hughes for his role in the dystopian action thriller Divergent, but the actor is perhaps most recognised for his portrayal of Josh Stock in the television series Skins. Ben previously appeared in the West End transfer of the Royal Court’s production of Jumpy.
I ask Ben what it’s like to be returning to the role he left behind last year. “It’s been a joy to reconnect not only with Claire [Lams] and our director, Anna [Ledwich] but also just with the text itself and to re-find it, recreate but also find new things about it. Anna has encouraged us to treat this as something new while also honouring how successful and great it was last time.”
Writer, Richard Bean is best known for his seminal work, One Man, Two Guvnors, a play, which is defined as a bawdy crowd pleaser. Kiss Me is a much more potent project and tackles some modern issues under the guise of a historical drama.
“The play talks a lot about feminism and female empowerment because this was a time when there was still a lot of sexism.” Ben explains, “Everything was still behind closed doors, but at the same time – because of the war – a lot of the women were having to do the men’s jobs and so it actually led to a lot of female empowerment.”