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Boa

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Clara Brennan’s tender, reflective two-hander sees a couple looking back on their long relationship, on the years they have spent with one another, on the early fizz of their attraction and the emotional highs and lows which followed.

Harriet Walter plays Belinda – nicknamed Boa – a dancer, while her real-life husband, Guy Paul, plays Louis, a former war correspondent. It is a real thrill to see Walter in such an intimate space, her face so richly expressive, and she and Paul, perhaps not surprisingly, have an ease together, a grasp of each other’s rhythms; their performances complement one another beautifully. Theatre Uncut’s Hannah Price directs with a lightness of touch and the production as a whole is gently compelling.

Brennan’s previous play, Spine, was an astonishing, rousing, piercing piece of writing and there are similarly emotionally vivid moments here. There is something wonderful in seeing a play which glories in the low glow of love, while also acknowledging how it can shift and dip over the course of a long relationship – they have rows, she drinks too much – but the final twist seems almost unnecessary. It’s effective, certainly, it draws tears, the writing is potent and the cast capture that potency, but it feels a little too targeted, a little too keen to make the audience weep.

The play is at its strongest and most effective, when capturing the texture of their relationship over the years, the sense of a life shared, the old jokes and old wounds, the places that love can take us.

  • Studio 2, Trafalgar Studios, London
  • February 5-March 7, PN February 9
  • Author: Clara Brennan
  • Director: Hannah Price
  • Design: Anthony Lamble set, Malcolm Rippeth lighting, David Price sound
  • Technical: Robert Holmes production manager, Marie Costa stage manager
  • Cast: Harriet Walter, Guy Paul
  • Producer: Moya Productions
  • Running time: 1hr 20mins

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The Stage
The Stage is a British weekly newspaper and website covering the entertainment industry, and particularly theatre. It was founded in 1880. It contains news, reviews, opinion, features, and recruitment advertising.
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