Carey Mulligan performs a Dennis Kelly script, under Lyndsey Turner’s direction. I’ll just let that sentence sink in for a moment. It sounds brilliant, right? Well it is, and this dream offering from the Royal Court does not disappoint.
An unexpected meeting between two strangers leads to a rapid, passionate relationship between two individuals. Things are going so well; they’re settled down in a nice home, with steady jobs and two beautiful children. It is an ordinary family, until one day when their world is turned upside down by the most unexpected of events. There is no time to think of a plan – they just land up in this situation. One minute they have it all, and the next moment they are left with nothing.
Undoubtedly one of the greatest living playwrights, Kelly’s text teases, humanises and entices. He never lets you linger too long in a specific moment; before you become indulgent you’re immediately thrown another provocation. It’s thrilling and challenging viewing.
Mulligan is completely comfortable holding her own on the main stage. She stands strong, commanding full attention at all times. All eyes are on her as she reveals the character’s inner thought processes. The psyche is revealed so clearly and Kelly’s words leave her lips so effortlessly. Every bit of text that exits is delivered with the clearest of intention. Mulligan successfully achieves each action – it really is a brilliant performance.
The play’s most emotional peak lands like a catastrophic explosion, which hits you with so many guttural punches you’re left feeling winded. I won’t say what that peak is, just in case you haven’t seen it yet; but let’s just say you’re in for a treat – if being sent on an emotional and unsteady rollercoaster is a form of pleasure.
Turner directs this piece with the utmost clarity. Her production is simple in shape, but complex in the way it flits between humour and trauma. It is at all times accessible to the audience and we remain in complete focus for the entire 90-minute ordeal.
Girls & Boys is one of those pieces you feel lucky to have seen. And there’s not much time left to see it, but I’d encourage you all to beg, borrow and (sneakily) steal a ticket. It is not to be missed. 5/5
Review written by Alistair Wilkinson.
Girls and Boys is currently showing until Saturday 17th March 2018 at the Royal Court Theatre. To find out more about the production, visit here…