Speaking in Tongues; Telling the truth can get you into trouble
Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell,
Silo Theatre at Q
Directed by Shane Bosher
Until September 14
If you are having marital or relationship problems at the moment don’t go and see Speaking in Tongues, it could lead to uncomfortable questions being asked, it’s the problem when art is just too much like life.
We follow two couples, Leon and Jane, Pete and Sonja who have been out on the town and have ended up in separate hotel rooms for a night of infidelity. After a taut and unresolved debate Leon and Jane give in to their lust while the slightly more moral or indecisive Pete and Susan don’t.
The big problem occurs when (big mistake), the individuals tell their partners about their indiscretions. Other seemingly unrelated tales edge into their lives; a man who might have committed suicide, a woman disappearing from a country road, a woman on the edge of a breakdown.
The play appears to be complex and it is, with all these neatly intertwined tales of love, deceit and regret slowly getting knitted together with something of a resolution but the suspense and unease are palpable and unsettling.
It is a play which involves us in the emotional bonds which develop with couples whether they are married or strangers and how we can often place more trust in the comfort strangers than those we are close to. There is also the question of what constitutes the truth of a relationship or an encounter with another human being and how accounts of those encounters can vary.. Do we understand the reality of a conversation or a relationship? What do individuals want from relationships?
To convey these dilemmas in a play requires a brilliant script, which Andrew Bovell provides but it also needs some great performances to make the emotional dimension ring true and the four actors who play nine parts are impeccable in their acting, timing and delivery
From the opening silent dance of attraction the four of them create strong, believable characters as well as providing us with a real sense of the actor trying to understand their character.
Steve Lovatt (Leon / Nick) plays an Everyman with a superb ordinariness while Oliver Driver manages to convey an inner tension which seems to have him ready to explode at any moment.
Alison Bruce (Sonja / Valerie) particularly as Sonja handles her emotional transformation brilliantly and both she and Luanne Gordon (Jane / Sarah) are inspired in their bitchy first act conversation.
John Verryt’s stunning set along with the dramatic lighting design of Sean Lynch helps reinforce the unsettling nature of the play with its cross between a set for a talent quest show and an interrogation chamber.