We’ve all been there; in one of those relationships; when someone says “I love you” too much, or not enough, or not at all. When an eye has wandered or perhaps an entire body. Nathan Lister’s unflinchingly honest writing debut ‘Relationship/wrecked’ is a modern and timely meditation on the current generation’s struggle to truly connect in the digital age.
The production follows a group of four friends and their partners through the trials and tribulations of modern dating. The action surrounds the lead up to James and Anthony’s ill-fated dinner party. Relationships are fracturing and decaying all around them and James (Lister) just wants to have a lovely evening. Oh, and for his boyfriend, Anthony – the playful Daniel Slade – to say “I love you”. Unfortunately for James, little goes to plan.
Strike Drum Productions, formed by graduates of the Bridge Theatre Training Company in 2015 offers a light-hearted but unflinchingly realistic comedy drama. Lister’s writing is crackling with wit and heart-felt honesty, which truly resonates with the audience; much like his performance. The vibrant collection of friends is brought to tangible life by a talented and masterful cast. Emily Goad’s intensity as the neurotic and jealous Imogen is unwavering and enthralling; her honest delivery often ignites dark hilarity. Neil Gardner’s Greg is enigmatic, difficult to like and impossible to trust beside her. Particular, condolatory comedy is generated by Andrew Armfield’s lovable but misled Benji, who brings an undousable energy and misplaced optimism to the stage. We worry for him beside the inscrutable, apparently inoffensive Julia (Taylor Keegan). Maya (Cherry Walters) and Danny (Robert Boulton) bring the slog of a long-term relationship into the mix. Walter’s impenetrable dead-pan allows us to laugh at feelings we perhaps recognise all too well and Boulton surprises us with unexpected depth and a little romance in his disillusioned Danny.
The drama and tension is beautifully paced and masterfully tempered with splashes of intelligent humour. Inscrutable partners full of convincing reassurances keep audiences guessing until the end and bring the familiar romantic confusion we have all suffered to brilliant life on-stage.
Fiona McGarvey’s direction brings together a deeply relatable cast of characters to this one-act play, full of insightful humour and daring honesty at the Clapham Fringe.
‘Relationship/wrecked’ ran at the Bread & Roses Theatre as part of the Clapham Fringe Festival on 15th October.