11:20 in the morning may seem a strange time to witness a play about a couple’s most intimate moments together and their private considerations but in the dark Upstairs of Assembly Roxy you forget the time and enter into the undeclared thoughts in the minds of sexual partners. A bed covered in unmade white bedding and two actors (Amy Kelly and Jordan Fox) in white sleep-clothes performing poetic monologues and physical expression are the simple but effective tools used to create the intimate experience of Bedtime Solos.
The touches of dialogue flow in and out between secret poetry and tandem movement, as the show cleverly uses an intensity of energy in movement and dialogue to give an effective sense of sexual intercourse without the actors actually ever really coming into physical contact with each other. The physical theatre aspect of the piece expressed sexual and power dynamics between the couple efficaciously. The poetry and movement blended better together than the dialogue, which felt joltingly incongruous at times. The use of poetic language as a whole sometimes drew you in and sometimes distanced you from the couple, as at times it felt a little too self-indulgent. Covering isolation, masturbation, premature ejaculation and the longing to connect, the play moved through a variety of tangents some of which were disturbing, others amusing, others sad and others still clichéd and repetitive. Kelly’s performance was highly engaging, much stronger as a whole than Fox’s, utilising a variety of expression, captivating movement and sensual vocalisation.
The intriguing style of writing and performance made this production on the whole interesting to watch, although slightly let down by the apparent shoe-horning in of some sort of psychoanalytical backstory for each of the characters too far towards the end of the piece. Despite a lack of progression and some bizarre non-sequiturs, Bedtime Solos is an inventive exploration of the minds of two lovers whilst they are having sex and performs this exploration in a unique and mostly compelling way.