Lucy (Sarah-Beth Brown) is lonely, so to work out where she’s going wrong, she shows us some climactic moments from her previous relationships. BOX Revolution work towards putting on gender non-specific work, and the piece benefits from this initiative – rather than being pigeonholed as male or female characters, the writing allows Lucy and all three of her partners to become real people, free from typically gendered conceits.
The actors show accomplished performances across the board.
Writer Tom Moriarty has a talent for realistic conversational scenes, but this is perhaps one of the flaws of the piece: it’s difficult to remain interested in the mundane, everyday scenarios. All three of Lucy’s flashbacks feature her arguing with each partner, and if there’s anything that’s tedious to listen to, it’s other couple’s arguments. There’s an enjoyable reality at the beginning of each flashback but there’s not a lot to keep the audience invested in any character.
This problem mostly comes to a head when it regards protagonist and narrator Lucy. She speaks directly to the audience about her loneliness, but we can see clearly through each flashback that she’s not a likeable person – she’s immature, impulsive and self-centred. It’s hard to feel sorry for her, or to relate to her and open up to thinking further about the play’s themes. Loneliness is a universal issue, true, but you’d be hard pushed to find an audience member who willingly compares themselves to Lucy, no matter how lonely they are.
However, it’s no reflection on Sarah-Beth Brown’s performance that Lucy is dislikable - if anything, it’s a credit to her to create a character real enough to become that grating within the short 45-minute period. The supporting actors also show accomplished performances across the board, and the piece comes to life especially during Moriarty’s scenes as Daithi, Lucy’s third partner - he’s both warm and vulnerable, and shows gorgeous comic timing.
BOX Revolution clearly have the right skill set for creating a compelling piece of theatre. Unfortunately, it seems they’ve put too much focus on a message with Detached, rather than creating an engaging experience for the audience.