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BWW Review: I and You, Hampstead Theatre via Instagram

BWW Review: I and You, Hampstead Theatre via Instagram

BWW Review: I and You, Hampstead Theatre via Instagram

In our current enforced state of isolation thanks to the nationwide lockdown, creatives across the country have been engaged in a tornado of generosity, sharing their existing work online and producing theatre at home.

One such giver is London's Hampstead Theatre, who have released a recording of their 2018 production of Lauren Gunderson's I and You - starring Maisie Williams and Zach Wyatt - via Instagram for a limited period of time.

Back in the free and easy days of 2018, a story about a young lady who spends her existence in isolation may not have had such far-reaching resonance. Today, however, you would be hard pressed not to find someone who isn't feeling the impending doom of rapidly closing-in walls.

Maisie Williams' Caroline has a medical condition that to all intense and purposes confines her to her room. Her world is viewed from a huge skylight and via her online portal. But all that changes with a sharp dose of Walt Whitman thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of Zach Wyatt's Anthony, hell bent on roping Caroline into a school project.

Under Edward Hall's direction, both Williams and Wyatt bring to life Gunderson's intense and intricately woven dialogue in that is, essentially, a beautifully argued polemic against screens and an eye-opening introduction to the beauty of other art forms. Whitman, Coltrane, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis all get shared as Caroline's bleak palate is slowly filled with colour thanks to Anthony's passion.

What unfolds, beyond a growing friendship and deeper understanding of the human condition, is something far more beautiful and surprising than the initial premise promises.

Both Williams and Wyatt fill the roles as if they were written for them. During this period of lockdown, there is no more fitting piece of theatre to watch from home than this: truly heart-warming, full of promise, passion and incredibly cathartic.

Long after this crisis has been resolved, it will be programmes like the Hampstead's that will be remembered and rightly celebrated.

I and You is available to watch for free via @hampstead_theatre or @lalatellsastory (Lauren Gunderson) on Instagram until Sunday, 29 March at 10pm. Suggested age recommendation is 14+

Photo credit: Manuel Harlan


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