"Closer" by Patrick Marber
Nottingham New Theatre.
Nottingham New Theatre.
It starts with a meeting in a hospital between the waif-like Alice, nursing a minor injury, and Dan, a newspaper obituarist and would-be novelist. But, although they start an affair, Dan is simultaneously attracted to a photographer, Anna.
While Anna is equally drawn to Dan, she marries a dermatologist, Larry, whom she guiltily betrays him, and he who deceives her. Spread over a five year period, "Closer" tells the story of the couple's interwoven lives as they switch to and fro between the partners.
It's a dissection of modern romance which puts men and women under the microscope and looks at the sexes, caught up in a web of desire and lust as well as guilt and betrayal.
The four actors Jess Lundholm (Alice), Libby Boyd (Anna), Louis Djalili (Dan) and Jamie Watt (Larry) are hypnotic, so much so that you don't stray from them while they are on the stage, not even to look at the inspired cinematic backdrops, These themselves are mesmeric with the sped up traffic and floral scenes, and especially in the aquarium scene.
The props and the sets are minimal but really effective which also means that you concentrate on the actors and the script and not the whole surroundings.
One of the funniest scenes was again played out on the backdrop, showing an online chat room conversation between two of the characters.
Directed by Max Miller, he brings out the honesty in the script and gives a feeling of realism throughout. It pulls no punches with the language and is brutally honest where this is concerned, but that is also what makes this play so attractive. It's not afraid to pussyfoot around what it means to say.
Charlotte Sanders makes her debut as a producer with "Closer", after previously seeing her earlier in the year in the excellent Christie classic "And Then There Were None".
To say this play is about two hours long, it didn't feel that long, which to me is always a good sign with a play because it engaged me and made me feel fully immersed in the story, the characters and the actors.
There are a lot of people who work behind the scenes in this play, too many to mention by name, but the hard work paid off as this is a really enjoyable play on every level. Another Nottingham New Theatre success, again showing the talent that this city, and university have locally.
"Closer" is on at the Nottingham New Theatre on the University campus, until Saturday 12 November 2016.