The key problem with Corium is that it’s difficult for the audience to believe that these people are couples to begin with
The play follows the entwined troubled marriages of two young couples. The narrative begins when April (Rosie Hague) and her husband Matthew (Simon Butler) visit her brother Freddie (Jack Donald) and his wife Anna (Kathryn Freeman) who also happens to be Matthew’s ex. It’s all rather awkward, particularly seeing as April and Matthew are having difficulties of their own, stemming from the fact that he’s gotten a tad disenfranchised with the whole marriage thing. However, despite this being a fairly reasonable motivation for his actions, the character is completely impossible to sympathise with. He is deeply unpleasant to everyone and I can’t help but wonder why on earth the two female characters are quite as eager to be with someone so distinctly unlovable.
The opening scene between the four characters is intended to be awkward but ends up just lacking pace, with pieces of exposition such as Freddie not being invited to the wedding not pursued any further. The movement that follows directly after seems a bit out of nowhere, and generally the transitions between scene and physical theatre section could do with some work. This affects the flow of the piece as a whole making it feel the full length of its 50 minute run time, although the energy did improve as the play progressed.
There are some standout points, including Hague’s monologues and a snappy section of interrupting speech at the end. The later movement sequences are really rather good, particularly the slow section between Freeman and Donald representing their characters’ growing emotional distance.
The key problem with Corium is that it’s difficult for the audience to believe that these people are couples to begin with, let alone that their marriages are failing. It all feels rather ingenuine, making emotional investment in the narrative challenging. Stylistically, you can see what they want it to be and there are some nice moments but overall the production falls short of what it perhaps could be.