Nude, Hope Theatre - Review

"I think I have a soul and you're in it. I think I have a soul and you're it."

Don't let the title of the show fool you. This isn't about the flesh or anything of a physical nature. Rather it is a mediation, (to borrow a phrase from Douglas Adams) on Life, the Universe and Everything in it, and being laid bare emotionally. In this secular Mystery play, featuring the Woman (Michelle Fahrenheim), the Man (Edward Nash) and the personification of Fate (Roshni Rathore) we follow this 'everyman' couple as they meet, fall in love, share a life and brace themselves for the end.

Rathore's omniscient narrator guides the audience through the personal yet recognisible milestones in the couple's lives, as well as spinning to the audience a more philosophical perspective on things. Inspired by The Ruba’iyat of Omar Khayyam, playwright Paul Hewitt has retained a lyrical quality to the dialogue and a keen eye on the minutiae of life (especially in the early stages of dating)! There's a real chemistry between Fahrenheim and Nash, with Fahrenheim in particular a joy to watch as she wears her heart on her sleeve – saying anything and everything that comes to mind.

With regards to the set itself, the use of its illuminated cube-like frame has perhaps been used a lot over the past year or two, in other productions such as Bryony Lavery's The Believers and Tanya Ronder's F*** The Polar Bears. However the perfectly formed box/cube sitting like a diamond within the Hope's performance space effortlessly alludes to the inner reality of the microcosm – their world within the world.

In the end, Nude doesn't necessarily say anything 'original'. However like life itself, what's most important is its 'journey' and the emotional connection the lovers have with the audience, as they recall in detail the throes of first love.

©Michael Davis 2016

Nude runs at The Hope Theatre until 21st May 2016.


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