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Clay review at Pleasance Theatre, London – ‘believable but thin’

Alex Hope in Clay at Pleasance Theatre, London Alex Hope in Clay at Pleasance Theatre, London

In Clay’s world of seemingly fluid definitions of sexual consent, misread signals blur the lines of complicity following a one-night stand.

A boy and girl ‘meet cute’ and end up in bed without ever learning each other’s names. She dismisses the event as meaningless, if mildly regrettable, but he romanticises and distorts it in memory so that the next time they meet he is primed to interpret everything she says and does as an invitation to sex that, this time, she definitely does not want.

Adam Foster’s play, seen in a much shorter version at London’s Old Red Lion last year, shows signs of its expansion. It feels thin and slow-moving, making its central point about the two characters interpreting and remembering things differently more times than is needed, as if it does not really have 75 minutes’ worth of story to tell.

However, it does show convincingly that two people can not only experience events differently but also build on those varying perceptions to the point of inhabiting separate realities.

Director Hannah Hauer-King can’t disguise the script’s thinness, but does guide Katharine Drury and Alex Hope to nuanced and sympathetic portraits of two individuals who innocently stumble their way into tragedy.

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Believable but thin story of perception and reality in the sphere of sexual complicity