Posts Tagged ‘Saskia Reeves’

Abi Morgan is an accomplished writer across theatre, film & TV and I’ve always enjoyed her work. Though I’d never heard about the real life She and He and their relationship based on the agreement to which the title refers, I can imagine why she would want to dramatise it. Sadly, it comes out as an inert and somewhat dull play.

In five scenes, we follow the relationship over 30 years, from the day they sign the agreement. It all takes place in She’s West US home, which is part of the agreement, an extraordinary tall structure with desert backdrop and giant cacti designed by Merle Hensel. He arrives and they go about their sparring, talking dirty. They have a lot of sex, offstage. They both have ex’s and children; He may also have a current wife. She’s a feminist and he’s certainly not. They record their encounters. They have entered into an unusual arrangement, instigated by Her, that is clearly mutually acceptable and it lasts. In the latter years they are together for half the year. After thirty years they make it public in their memoirs. That’s about it, really.

Despite good performances from Danny Webb & Saskia Reeves, it wasn’t long before I was slipping into a disengaged state of ‘so what?’ I’m afraid I didn’t like and wasn’t interested in either character. The feminist debate was nowhere near as interesting as that in other current plays Blurred Lines or Rapture Blister Burn. When you can’t get into something, ninety minutes can be a very long time and to be honest I just wanted it to end from about half-way through. Another occasion where no interval was wise indeed (well, for the theatre anyway).

I think director Vicky Featherstone could have given it more pace and energy, but I think the core issue is that the story just doesn’t lend itself to dramatisation and should stay on the page.

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