Many plays explore our basic human need for companionship but Eliana Ostro’s Anything With a Pulse chooses to examine the games we play to hinder this. A man and a woman catch sight of one another on the dance floor. There is a moment of connection and an exchange of numbers. There’s even a fumbled night of sex a few weeks later but fate, for whatever reason, keeps them apart until they both drift into unsatisfactory relationships elsewhere.
Ostro’s play may not break new ground in terms of subject matter, but her entertaining written style and neatly aligned behavioural observations are a joy to behold. It helps that Ostro’s direction matches the energy of her script and that actors Rufus Love and Annie Davison share a wonderful onstage chemistry. Between them, they create an array of peers and partners, moulding and shaping the couple with often unexpected results.
There is a danger that Ostro’s dialogue, featuring constant asides to the fourth wall, overwhelms the narrative but Peep Show has probably immunised us to this conceit, even on stage. The bittersweet ending is unexpected but it’s worth it for this fresh, smile-inducing play that breathes new life into an old story.