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A little less conversation: After Sex @Arcolatheatre

According to research, millennials in rich countries are having sex less these days. But they were prepared to talk more about it. So, it is no surprise to see a story about what happens when a series of no-strings-attached encounters start to become attachments. And the conversations arising from it. Such is the premise of After Sex, Siofra Dromgoole’s two-hander of the conversations afterwards. It’s not particularly sexy or erotic, and the snappy pacing and short scenes sometimes make you wish they stayed longer to finish the conversation. Nevertheless, it is still a funny and, at times, bittersweet picture of single lives in the big city. It’s currently playing at the Arcola Theatre .  He is bi and works for her in an office job. She is neither ready for a commitment nor to let the office know what’s happening. He isn’t prepared to tell his mum there’s someone special in his life. He doesn’t speak to his dad, so his mum is his world. It’s a perfect relationship/arrangement. Or so it

Ladies day: Screwed @Theatre503

Funny, vulgar and just a bit scary. Screwed at Theatre 503 really hits you with everything it can in this new work by Kathryn O'Reilly.

It's another day at the factory. Charlene and Luce had just had a great night out and were still buzzing (or intoxicated) from the night before.

They assemble bathroom fittings putting the female part onto the male part. But the job is just an excuse to talk about what male parts they put into their female parts. All the time they're popping pills or knocking back vodka miniatures.

There are men on the scene but they are impotent. This isn't exactly what the ladies want or need. There is Paulo their supervisor who covers for them arriving late to work and wants to be in a relationship with Charlene. He also works a second job in a food van.

Then there is Doris, Luce's transgender father. Luce lives with him but he doesn't hold much sway over her. She treats him as neither a father nor a mother.

It is unnerving and at times horrifying to watch two ladies go on a self-destructive rampage. But there is something about the piece that seems so appropriate for our times. Self-destruction, promiscuity, dead end jobs and alcoholism. It is all all presented here in a subtle and delicate way.

Yet amongst the self-destructiveness and ladette humour, there is vulnerability. The performances and direction bring this out and gives this piece its softer side.

Samantha Robinson as Charlene is incredible to watch. Her performance constantly reminds you she is a character uneasy in her own skin. Invicible with her friend Luce, on her own she is adrift. You don't know why she has befriended Luce or how they started their antics, but you get the sense that she is trapped in a world of her own making.

Her indifferent relationship with Paulo (Stephen Myott-Meadows) seems to play out the characters dillema. Does she chose one world over another. Paulo wants her to leave and offers a warm relationship and a way out. The grisly climax comes as no suprise, as it is her way of lashing out.

Eloise Joseph gets the biggest laughs in her role. She has some terrific comic timing and uses her entire body as weapon against the world. But her relationship with her father Doris (Derek Elroy) gives her the chance to also be someone's little girl.

The piece never drags for its 90 minute duration. It is one minute hilarious next minute horror. But if never feels over the top. Maybe because it seems too familiar for anyone who has been out late anywhere in this country and seen what passes for a night out on the town.

Yet another exciting new work and great looking production coming out of Theatre 503. Directed by Sarah Meadows, Screwed runs through to 23 July.


Photo credit: Production photos by Sophie Mutevelian

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