Theatre Review: Speaking In Tongues

Posted on: 13 October 2009 by Mark O'haire

Laurence Green reviews Andrew Bovel’s disappointing drama Speaking in Tongues at the Duke of Yorks Theatre.

A complex study of infidelity and interwoven lives is provided by Andrew Bovell’s disappointing drama Speaking in Tongues at the Duke of Yorks Theatre.

The play has a number of starting points: the glimpse of a woman’s shoe discarded at the side of the road, a man writing a letting to an ex-lover, a series of messages left on an answering machine, a middle-aged man breaking down and weeping, a pair of brown brogues left at the edge of the water and so on. From each image or moment witnessed a story begins to unfold, and slowly connections between them begin to emerge. Each of these stories seems to be about love and loss and trust and betrayal with the possibility of something untoward having taken place.

The actual drama centres on the seemingly random confessions of a group of strangers which are pieced together by a detective investigating the disappearance of a leading psychiatrist.

This is the stage version of a much lauded Australian film Lantana (released several years ago) but whereas the movie was a compelling, highly charged film noir, the play is completely devoid of tension in its exploration of loneliness and lack of communication between individuals.

Furthermore despite a promising cast which includes Kerry Fox, John Simms, Ian Hart and Lucy Cohu, the performances are underwhelming and lack the necessary spark which might give this verbose drama a true sense of conviction.

In all then; a perplexing and unsatisfying night in the theatre.

Where: Duke of Yorks Theatre

When: Plays until 12 December 2009

Box Office: Call 0844 871 7623 or book your tickets online by clicking here.

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