Review: Play House & Definitely the Bahamas

Written for Time Out

Play House

This double bill places a new play next to a revival and gives writer Martin Crimp his first outing as director. In the delicious ‘Play House’, Crimp puts a young married couple under the microscope. We zip through adoration, lust, annoyance, babies, confusions and true love. Obi Abili and Lily James are compelling sparring partners. But by revealing itself so eagerly ‘Play House’ loses some of its potency.

By contrast ‘Definitely the Bahamas’ (originally a radio play) is a masterclass in understatement. Here a middle-aged couple square their morals with the behaviour of an unscrupulous child. Crimp’s canny decision to stage it on a radio set inherently places adoring Milly (a thrilling Kate Fahy) and impervious Frank’s stories within a dual reality, calling into question each sunny lie.

The emotional violence threatening to engulf ‘Play House’ simmers away painfully in ‘Definitely the Bahamas’, each betrayal all the more blistering. The effect of both together is electric.

Runs until 21st April 2012.

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