Two lost souls meet in an anonymous hotel room. Lucia, an unhappily married businesswoman, has paid Angel, a visually impaired young man, to spend an hour with her. She wants him to listen to her but becomes vindictive when he prods at her sore points. He, it seems, is primarily there to facilitate her journey, asking difficult questions but lapsing into frustrated fury when she doesn’t play ball.
Spanish writer Paloma Pedrero’s play, translated by Catherine Boyle, is a strange, elliptical piece, exploring enormous themes like loneliness, kindness, and cruelty, but never really managing to take off.
The text, which veers from vague, oblique aphorisms to over explicatory monologues. Lucia and Angel’s power dynamic violently swings back and forth and yet there is a strange sense of inertia to the writing that drags down Simone Coxall’s nimble production.
There is an absorbing vein of absurdism running through Pedrero’s text, but the over-the-head non-sequiturs begin to pile up and exasperate, unrooted by any real sense of character or stakes. For a play that seeks to delve into the messiness of human connection, there is very little sense of actual humanity to the couple. Angel in particular, though played with louche, dangerous charm by Samuel Brewer, remains frustratingly out of reach, more of a dramatic cipher than anything substantial.
Mariachiara Maracci’s hotel room design is perfectly purgatorial, and a central scene set entirely in darkness is eerily intriguing – but Lucia and Angel remain as far away as two distant, pale moons.