Michael Almaz adapted and directed Jean Paul Satre’s Intimacy for the stage and, it appears, grew so attached to its main characters that he did not want to give them up, creating this piece to explore what happens to them after the period depicted in the first play.
Paris is occupied by the Nazis and tarty Rirette, Eva Gray, embroiled in an affair with a high ranking soldier, cons Jewish Miriam, Maggie Robson, out of her trinket shop. Meanwhile, ditsy Lulu, Vicki Carpenter, cocooned by her own stupidity, tries to remain blissfully unaware of the changes around her and maintains a lesbian relationship with existentialist cabaret star Cynard, effectively portrayed by Bethan Thorpe.
Cliff Capps and Andy Shield’s simplistic set successfully depicts the shop, Lulu’s bedroom and the cabaret club, although what the small canvas, tent-like ceiling and ropes represent is never clear.
The stand-out performance belongs to Robson, who effectively carries the weight of her character’s situation – an essential balance as it is Miriam’s degredation that creates the only sense of momentum in the play and defines the other roles.
Gray gives a natural and absorbing performance as Rirette, disregarding any compassion and creating a cold, selfish character. Her performance and that of Robson are so natural that Carpenter’s hammy, see-the-strings acting as Lulu jars constantly, although the character is so one-dimensional that it is difficult to see how else it could be done.
Pentameters, London, February 15-March 19
- Michael Almaz
- Andy Shield
- Leonie Scott-Matthews
- Bethen Thorpe, Eva Gray, Vicki Carpenter, Maggie Robson
- Running time
- 1hr 20mins