Theatre review: Fluids at the Pleasance Theatre

11:59 21 January 2013

Alex Woolf (Joe) and Katy Daghorn (Sophie) in Fluids at the Pleasance Theatre. Picture: Rose Wardlaw

Alex Woolf (Joe) and Katy Daghorn (Sophie) in Fluids at the Pleasance Theatre. Picture: Rose Wardlaw

Archant

One-act play about the lives of two couples is impressive and insightful

Fluids is a one-act play that looks at the lives of two very different couples.

Joe and Sophie are an endearingly loved-up twosome, who have been desperate to conceive their first child for the last few years.

Meanwhile, Joe’s banker brother Mark and his snooty partner Milly appear to be in a loveless, sexless marriage... but are expecting their first child.

Writer and director Holly McKinlay develops her characters impressively in 45 minutes, assisted in no small part by a well-cast quartet.

Katy Daghorn is likeable as the obsessively broody Sophie, although perhaps a little more optimistic than one would expect given the cloud of possible infertility hanging over her and her husband.

Alex Woolf gives a heart-warming, believable performance as her loving and supportive partner Joe and the pair evoke a convincing, natural chemistry that is a joy to watch.

Adam Fletcher’s Mark barely said more than a few words, although it was clear that his overbearing, spiteful wife Milly intended it to stay that way.

There were moments where this was over the top to almost comic effect, but it would have been nice to see a little more of the vulnerability that had made her so bitter.

That said, Francesca Knight did a stellar job in ensuring Milly came across as a thoroughly nasty piece of work.

McKinlay expertly steers us through the sensitive subject matter with her fresh, realistic script and does an excellent job right through to the play’s thought-provoking and unexpected close. An insightful, impressive work.

* Fluids was at the Pleasance in Carpenters Mews, N7, until January 20 and moves to the King’s Head Theatre in Upper Street, N1, for two stripped-back performances on January 26 and February 2.

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