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NT’s Beginning plays the difficulty of metropolitan life perfectly – review

Johan Persson

David Eldridge’s two-hander explores the possibility and spontaneity of romance in the simplest of places.

Now playing at the National Theatre, we find out only two cast members discussing the notion of leaving or staying at a party during the early hours. Should one leave, should one stay? Where will their night take them if one stays? And is this just a simple conversation about life, love and even sex – or could more be sparked?

We sit wondering all of these, and more, during the entirety of Beginning. Do we get all the answers by the end? Well, not really – but do we really care? Again, not really – but maybe that’s why this play works well. It really is a play of what if?

As our leading pair bare their souls at the hope of tomorrow, we’re left feeling connected to our lives. Beginning looks the difficulty of metropolitan life expertly – from loneliness through to the excitement of something or somebody being just around the corner.

Its simple and delicate in the hands of Justine Mitchell as Laura and Sam Troughton as Danny who carry this piece well; each driven by their character’s previous life experiences that come to light throughout the night.

Fly Davis’ noticeably realistic scenic design enhances the humanistic side of why you must care throughout.

Related: Saint George and the Dragon’s an eye-opening stage experience – review

Beginning can, at times, feel somewhat slow in its storytelling. The conversational dialogue and rather clumsy decision making of each character is delivered to a somewhat slower pace than you’d expect from a play. However, that could also be why many around seemed moved come curtain call. This is an eye into the lives of what we’re sure many also experience daily. Not flashing lights or moving sets. This is life presented in the smallest of forms.

Polly Findlay’s production touches your heart and points a mirror back at those watching. Is it uncomfortable to see the difficulty of finding love in a modern world played so intricately? Yes. But maybe the best things in life are the simplest, and maybe that’s why the NT remains a hub for the greatest work we have currently.

Life. It projects life on stage… and we can’t ever ask for much more.

Gay Times gives Beginning – 3/5

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