Danny and the Deep Blue Sea by John Patrick Shanley at Theatre N16

Theatrum Veritatus have brought back John Patrick Shanley’s explosive play to the stage, this time at Theatre N16. Set over the course of one evening a man and women, each on the edge of an abyss, come together and try to find peace.

Danny is always getting into fights, whilst Roberta is trying to overcome an incident with her father. As strangers, they meet in a bar one night. Danny may have just killed someone, she has not had a proper night’s sleep in years. Eventually they decide to go home together. They spend the night in Roberta’s house, overcoming Danny’s violent outbursts, before playing lovers and planning a life together. In the morning, however, it is all change and they are back in their unstable lives.

Described as “a fierce dance of the displaced” we anticipated a movement and dance-based piece. This it was not. Instead we were presented with a very harrowing real drama about two people on the edge. There was, however, one extended sequence of movement, somewhere between a dance and a fight. The naturalistic scenes were delivered with real power and tenderness thanks to the talents of Gareth O’Connor and Megan Lloyd-Jones.

The problem for us lay in the play itself. For starters it didn’t really go anywhere. Furthermore, entitled ‘Danny and the Deep Blue Sea’ it seemed to sell Roberta short as their parts were of equal importance in the play. The scenes felt at times too long and that is always tricky in the hot atmosphere of Theatre N16 not to mention its wooden chairs.

Nonetheless the play was directed well by Courtney Larkin with Danny’s outbursts well pitched creating a real sense of danger between the characters. His anger and violence were perfectly contrasted with Roberta’s pain and tenderness. The actors and creatives made a very good job of the play. We only wished there had been more physical scenes.

Highlight of the show – Watching how both Danny and Roberta dealt with the reality of the day after.

WIGS 3/5

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