Ross and Rachel
James Fritz’s startling new play contains two voices belonging to people who’ve become used to being addressed as one: a single thing. It’s fitting, then, that they’re both played by one performer: Molly Vevers, standing over a pool of renewal, mug in hand. The couple in question have spent so much of their 20s on-again, off-again, dancing around each other, that their relationship has become something bigger than them both, suffocating, stifling. Fritz unpicks what happens after the happy ending, after the great glittering wedding and all the applause: the petty resentments, the jealousies, the impact of sickness on an already fractured marriage.
It uses pop culture as a way of exploring common fears and anxieties. You don’t have to have seen a single episode of Friends to respond to what the play is saying but for those who do know the show it’s cleverly laced with references in a way that enhances its preoccupation with the passing of time. Nick Payne’s Constellations is another touchstone. Vevers gives a brilliantly measured performance, subtly defining both people, while beautifully handing the characters’ gradual unravelling. Thomas Martin’s production is confident and assured and the design is also effective, the black pool into which everyone will one day plunge.