It is all too common in a long-term relationship to fall in and out of love. Personal problems and external factors begin to put a strain on a marriage and soon a couple forgets why they’re together in the first place. This struggle becomes all too real in the immersing production of Speaking In Tongues.
Speaking In Tongues, by Andrew Bovell, is a captivating web of four narratives that interconnect through love, deceit, sex and death. When a woman goes missing her disappearance affects the lives of those who have crossed paths with her and her husband. Soon relationships begin to break, as the idea of love and the concept of marriage become tainted with guilt and shame.
The play took place in a small space where the audience was scattered around on swivel chairs. The audience was able to spin around 360-degrees, as the actors played within the room by cutting through the intersections of the space. On a wall, a projector snapped on and off revealing scenes from different experiences characters had witnessed. The walls display an entanglement of red string and frames representing the web of lies that complicated their relationships. Sitting within arms reach of an actor made the play more accessible and involved the audience emotionally during each scene.
The strongest aspect of this play was that of the performers – Phil Aizlewood, Ben Elder, Georgina Periam and Kate Austen. Their passionate performances were spectacular. The emotional drama of affairs and marital challenges were evident in their body language and speech. Collaboratively, under the wonderful direction of Kathleen Douglas, the cast brought Bovell’s writing to life as they slowly revealed each of their characters’ secrets in the space.
The narratives of this play are complex and streamline between relationships in ways an audience wouldn’t expect. Speaking In Tongues is an emotionally engrossing story that will leave you questioning the morals and values of marriage.
Review by Aly Chromy
Speaking In Tongues
2 – 4 February 2017
Tickets: Full £14, Concession £10
London NW8 8EH
Running Time: 1 hour 45 minutes, 15 interval