This Much (or An Act of Violence Towards the Institution of Marriage)

This Much (or An Act of Violence Towards the Institution of Marriage), despite its lengthy title, is a fast-paced, intense and powerful piece of new writing, filled with intriguing characters. Watching their relations build up, shift and change is like watching an explosion go off in slow motion, or rather an implosion, with an unsteady rebuild after the fog has cleared.

This is an exceptionally well written and well performed production.

Gar is stuck in the reality of having Anthony – his long-term partner – ready to tie the knot as soon as Gar is ready. However, Albert is a risky, game-playing bad boy who is attracting a lot of Gar’s attention. Every decision Gar tries to make feels like a mistake, or a lie or a compromise on his happiness. There is no right decision to be made.

This is an exceptionally well written and well performed production. It is less an act of violence towards marriage than a long overdue analysis of the institution, and a long hard look at how we define ourselves through our relationships with those around us.

The trio work incredibly well together. Gar (Lewis Hart) is our anti-hero of the piece, an artist who struggles to take life and love seriously. Hart captures the playfulness that Gar begins with, dealing admirably with Gar’s tendency to monologue by making the monologues light and whimsical. As Gar’s decisions change him, Hart manages to bring out a tragic misery in Gar’s new situation. Some of the more emotionally torn moments will haunt you.

Albert, played wonderfully subtly by James Parris, is an enigma lurking on the edge of Gar’s life, yet still seems to be a completely real and believable person. Anthony begins dangerously close to a neurotic stereotype, but his character blooms into a heart-breaking and strong individual. The audience come to deeply care for all of the characters, building alliances with them only to have them broken down and reformed anew in an endlessly engaging tangle.

The set has been ingeniously designed to provide a very flexible performance space, appearing cluttered yet still allowing the cast to navigate with consummate ease. Dominic Kennedy’s sound design really helps weave the show together. From obvious moments such as the gloriously Gaylist-worthy soundtrack to much more subtle details such as directional sound and the radio that plays entire shows in the background bring touches of reality.

Despite the show’s scenes moving through lots of locations, the audience are rarely left behind. The only moment where I got lost was the transition into the funeral - it took me a while to work out we had moved through time and space. There is also a moment when Anthony is meant to trash a hotel room which almost worked if he hadn’t been ever so careful about not breaking anything.

The show tackles some very complicated issues providing no easy answers and at the end the conflicts are tantalisingly unresolved. However it opens wide the door for discussion of the ideas. It’s an absorbing character drama and I would recommend this show to absolutely everybody.

Reviews by M Johnson

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The Blurb

‘I just want to dance with my friends.’ Gar can’t decide between the man who plays games and the man on one knee with a ring. Every choice seems like a compromise. This Much re-examines how we define ourselves through relationships. Three boys, one dress and a hoover collide as Gar risks everything to become what he really wants to be. MOVING DUST stage the world-premiere of this explosive play written by John Fitzpatrick on the renowned Royal Court Writers’ Programme. Life's a wedding disco. Let’s dance.

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