Lungs
  • By Kyung Oh
  • |
  • 19th Aug 2014
  • |
  • ★★★★

A couple are thinking about having a baby, but want to make sure they’re doing it for the right reasons. But is there such a thing as a ‘right reason’ for having a baby? In Lungs, a well-educated, progressive and well-meaning man and woman overthink the implications of bringing a child into this world as their personal dreams and fears get enmeshed in political, environmental and social considerations.

Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis put on an exceptional performance and their tight chemistry enables them to deliver the rapid-fire dialogue in a ceaselessly captivating way.

This play is full of comic brilliance. Scene transitions are quick and unostentatious; there are no props and hardly any black-outs for scene endings. The script very confidently pushes each scene only to the point where it remains interesting, and then jumps to several moments - or at other times, days - ahead, with no indication other than the superb acting as to what the new context is.

Sian Reese-Williams and Abdul Salis put on an exceptional performance and their tight chemistry enables them to deliver the rapid-fire dialogue in a ceaselessly captivating way. The man is often left standing, while the woman paces around, speaking out loud as she wades through her befuddled thoughts. Sharp bursts of laughter flow from the audience, as the woman’s unpolished thoughts reveal sentiments that we ourselves might be caught having, unpalatable though they may be (i.e. thoughtless, ignorant people shouldn’t be allowed to have babies). The man is somewhat behind the woman in terms of sensitivity, or capacity to think intellectually and this difference in how they approach their conversations continuously fuels the comedy. He bumblingly tries to keep up with her while she gets carried away with her thoughts or launches off into strange and probably faulty (but somehow convincing) logic - that it’s unethical to have a baby because of the excessive carbon footprint alone, for example.

The show tries to traverse through a range of tones with its quick pace, but the more emotional scenes, when the couple experience great difficulties in their relationship, feel under-developed, and don’t as successfully elicit a response from the audience. In such scenes it’s difficult to sufficiently empathise with their hardships. But overall, the play maintains a very engaging, quick pace, showcasing two animated characters brought to life by two extremely dynamic actors.

Reviews by Kyung Oh

Underbelly, Cowgate

Before Us

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Men in the Cities

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Years to the Day

★★
theSpace on Niddry St

Can't Stay Away!

Summerhall

Snoutology for Beginners

★★★★
C venues - C

The Road to Skibbereen

★★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Lungs by Duncan Macmillan. ‘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’. A couple are deciding their future. Thirty-something, educated, thoughtful, they want to have a child for the right reasons. But in a time of overpopulation, erratic weather and political unrest, what exactly are the right reasons? 'The most beautiful, shattering play of the year.' ***** (Sunday Express).