Review: I F*CKED YOU IN MY SPACESHIP, Soho Theatre

This VAULT Festival success transfers to Soho Theatre with stellar results.

By: Jun. 22, 2023
Review: I F*CKED YOU IN MY SPACESHIP, Soho Theatre
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Review: I F*CKED YOU IN MY SPACESHIP, Soho Theatre After playing to sold-out crowds for their whole run at VAULT Festival earlier in the year and winning an Origins Award for Outstanding New Work, Soho Theatre learnt why I F*cked You In My Spaceship has been the talk of London’s fringe scene. ​​Louis Emmitt-Stern’s play is a tender exploration of the hairline cracks between couples fuelled by precise humour and a penchant for a great one-liner. Leo and Dan try to spice up their sex life; Emily and Anna are ready to take the next step. Ultimately, it’s the story of a gradual alienation from our safe space.

Director Joseph Winer establishes rigorous trajectories in his work, turning his actors into each other’s satellites and toying with the distance of their levels of intimacy. He takes the tonal changes found in Emmitt-Stern’s text and turns them up a notch, leaning into the dramedy hybrid flawlessly. Exceptional banter lives side by side to the harrowing inevitability of the characters’ estrangement. This alienation interestingly unfolds in different shapes. From jealousy to manipulation, from betrayal to complacency.

Leo and Dan’s universe is disrupted by Leo’s fantasies of having intercourse with an alien (hence the brilliant title). After Dan gets it wrong, they decide to invite another person into their relationship with the sole aim of satisfying Leo. With a pure boys-next-door vibe, Jonas Moore (Leo) and Max Hyner (Dan) are in direct conflict with Felix Kai and the mischievous trickster vibes of his character Al. Definitely a star in the making, Kai drives a wedge between the long-term boyfriends.

Moore establishes an exceptional comic tempo, timing his responses with clockwork care and stealing the scene until he is ready to hand it over willingly to Kai and his explosive flair. They are a joy to watch while they play off each other’s energy and deliver serious comedy. While this trio negotiate their wants and needs, Fanta Barrie and Lucy Spreckley navigate the fear and hesitation that surrounds what it takes to have a baby as lesbians. Anna (Barrie) and Emily (Spreckley) choose Robert (Jacob Bukasa) as their donor. From the get-go, Emmitt-Stern writes a precarious balance. The two are constantly and dangerously close to tipping it irreversibly.

While Barrie and Spreckley lovingly bicker and show profound devotion to one another, Bukasa invades their home as well as the stage with intense physical language. Like Kai’s, his character mutates from an innocuous presence to an emotional blackmailer, allowing Bukasa to give a multi-faceted wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing performance. While the couples are, metaphorically speaking, on distinct planets with regard to their liaisons, the playwright weaves excellent parallels while introducing dynamics that are wildly different yet eerily similar.

In short, it’s a very good production. It gives you pause, but it’s still tremendously funny. It speaks of the contemporary insecurity and malaise that’s so typically millennial, but so universal nonetheless. It’s easy to see why I F*cked You In My Spaceship has garnered the success it has, it’s definitely on the right path to become a queer cult show. If there’s one fault to find, it lies in the very ending, which could be fleshed out slightly more to concretise the final ties, but it’s nothing major anyway. As it is, it’s a stellar piece of theatre.

I F*cked You In My Spaceship runs at Soho Theatre until 8 July.


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