Lungs
  • By Liam Rees
  • |
  • 16th Aug 2015
  • |
  • ★★★★★
  • 2195

Lungs is a) a remarkable piece of writing by Duncan Macmillan and b) a remarkable show brought to life by director, George Perrin, and actors, Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis. A 70 minute two-hander, Lungs follows a couple debating whether or not to have a child and the subsequent twists, turns and developments in their relationship.

Lungs is a play that grips you to the very end and then gets under your skin.

In a stroke of genius by Perrin, the action takes place on an empty stage, unrestrained by any attempts at realism: the actors’ costumes remain the same, and instead of demonstrating where they are (whether that be IKEA or in bed), they simply tell us, moving in time with their emotional states and rhythm. It’s a startlingly simple and wonderful trick that means the show never loses its pace and runs without an ounce of fat on it. There is a reason why the moments of silence are so potent: we become so used to the characters thinking out loud, talking like real people with unfinished ideas, interruptions and backtracks, that it’s impossible for us not to identify with them. Macmillan has a perfect ear for how we speak.

Simultaneously side-splitting and gut-wrenching, Lungs is a play that grips you to the very end and then gets under your skin. In mirroring us so perfectly, the couple becomes any couple – who we are, who we were and who we may be – so their struggles become our struggles. We all have questions that need answers, but Macmillan certainly won’t be the one to supply them.

Reviews by Liam Rees

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

‘I could fly to New York and back every day for seven years and still not leave a carbon footprint as big as if I have a child. Ten thousand tonnes of CO2. That’s the weight of the Eiffel Tower. I’d be giving birth to the Eiffel Tower.’ In a time of global anxiety, erratic weather and political unrest, a couple want a child but are running out of time. What will be the first to destruct – the planet or their relationship? 'The most beautiful, shattering play of the year' ***** (Sunday Express).