BWW Review: RUST, Hightide Festival, Aldeburgh
Nadia and Daniel rent a flat - a "fuckpad" (their words not mine) - and have sex there every Monday. There's a bit more to their relationship than that, but not much - if you don't count the elephant in the room: that each is emphatically not the other's spouse. That otherness, those transgressive afternoons, the giggly rehearsals of the lies they'll have to tell, fires them up still further as they dip into the Kama Sutra playbook. And for a while, it works. For a while, it usually does.
But there's a list of rules, and it hangs over them like Chekhov's gun. Soon those pesky, but essential, regulations get chipped away, as their home lives seep into their fuckpad lives and things start to unwind, the way things do.
If we've seen this set-up a thousand times before (I thought of Carla Lane's Butterflies, but you'll have your own), writer, Kenny Emson, still pulls it off with aplomb, the dialogue, the motivations, the compromises real - uncomfortably so for those of us a generation or so older than his couple. Been There. Seen It...
But two-handers only work if the two actors convince us and (maybe this is a reviewer writing rather than a punter in the stalls) we like them enough to care about their fates. Jon Foster and Claire Lams do a fine job, human, if not always humane, passionate, if inexplicably buttoned up in clothing though not in desires, but never saccharine sweet. We get the feeling that they may love each other, but also that they might love themselves that little bit more - the way people do.
Rust doesn't break any new ground, but one admires the skills of all involved and you do spend time hoping it'll all work out for Daniel and Nadia. You also know that there are too many loose ends for the tapestry ever to resolve into a pretty picture.
At 70 minutes all-through, it's more a playlet than a play and I look forward to seeing what Emson can do when he really lets himself off the leash - his ear for dialogue and strong characterisation augur well.
Photo Helen Murray