There’s a certain point at which two single men living in a houseshare crosses the line from chummy to tragic – let’s call it the Peep Show marker. O’Rourke and Beezer are well into this territory, sharing not only a grotty London flat, but also a double bed.
Their landlord and his lackey arrive one morning, with the promise of free rent for six months if the pair looks after something for a while. The tenants are afraid it’s going to be a dog. It’s a whole lot worse.
Make no mistake, Eugene O’Hare’s debut full-length play is one of the most unrelentingly bleak shows you will see this year. It lifts the lid on a murky underworld and introduces you to the sort of reprehensible people that leave you feeling grubby just by being in their presence.
It’s not everybody’s idea of a pleasant night out at the theatre, sure, but those who skip it are missing out on a Martin McDonagh-esque script that manages to wring out drops of humanity and even laughter in the face of abject misery. Particularly so in the second act, in which a series of crushingly sad monologues are relayed to unresponsive parties.
Credit, too, must go to the seasoned cast who let the grim material do the talking, creating a palpable sense of unease in the audience.
After two and a quarter hours, you’ll relieved to escape this claustrophobic show, but the subject matter will stay with you for days afterwards.