Forsaken love. Reunited lovers. Man and woman. The man whose illustrious career kept the woman afloat in a subtle, stifling bondage. She had to get out; she’s jettisoned comfort for a modest career in a poor area. Now he’s back with a seemingly intractable load of baggage. Is there desire for permanence, or is he just looking for a fling?
knowingly related to its crisp, two-hand romance cousins; it’s almost over-familiar
Awfully similar to David Hare’s Skylight, though it’s less heady than that play: more of a Skylight-lite than anything. We’re not seeing Tom and Kyra, however, but Isaac and Sophie. They’re the couple that couldn’t work, and there are fascinating reasons why they failed together. He’s a photographer and she’s a nurse. Immediately you think Junior doctors’ strike, but her profession plays second fiddle to his; photography is the leitmotif. Sophie used to be Oscar’s model and muse, and this former relation is the lifeblood of White Slate Theatre’s Captured. It can be mesmerising to learn how each partner viewed this dynamic, though talk of photography lets the door open for flimsier writing. It’s hard to love silly metaphors about cameras, particularly the poeticisms that jar with the otherwise natural dialogue. There’s also delving into unbidden rom-com territory with hokey effusions and gushy audiovisual montages.
Liam Harkins is the stand-out in this two-hander. His Isaac sidesteps pretension and so comes across more everyday bloke than world-class photographer. This is useful in their arguments, because it helps Captured avoidthe high-octane, flagging style of a French New Wave film. The fact that he’s immensely likeable does wonders too, particularly when Sophie starts to deconstruct his cheery persona in the darker side of their relationship. Jenna May Hobbs is a fine Sophie, nailing her bitter passages, though she can move too wildly onstage. Yes, her character’s drunk, but more control would complement Harkins’ stark naturalism.
It crackles, occasionally. Captured is knowingly related to its crisp, two-hand romance cousins; it’s almost over-familiar (I don’t advise watching Linklater’s Before movies first). But there’s enough, especially in Harkins’ portrayal and the change of perspectives, to give Blank State’s play an exclusive voice.