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Torn Apart (Dissolution) review at Distrikt, Brighton – ‘ambitious new writing’

Elliott Rogers and Hannah Kerin in Torn Apart (Dissolution) at Distrikt, Brighton. Photo: No Offence Theatre

A bed sits at the centre of the stage and much of the action in BJ McNeill’s play happens on it – or in it.

Torn Apart (Dissolution) tells the story of three different couples at three different times. The first thread is set in West Germany in the 1980s, and depicts the relationship between a young American soldier and a Polish student. The second, set in London, focuses on a young chef and his Australian girlfriend. The third concerns Holly, an affluent married woman who has fallen in love with Erica, a young woman with a difficult past. Each of these couples has to deal with the fact that things beyond their control will eventually separate them: work, visas, illness.

As a piece, it’s ambitious in its scope and says some interesting things about the complicated and often contradictory nature of desire. The dialogue is broken up by moments of movement that suggest the precarity of their relationships, the characters poised on the edge of things. But there’s lack of clarity to the piece in places and the dialogue has a tendency to turn in circles.

Coming to Brighton after a run at London’s Theatre N16, No Offence’s production contains much that is promising but at this stage it definitely feels like a work that could benefit from further development.

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Verdict
New play about love and loss that while ambitious in scope is lacking in clarity
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