The Oscar-nominated Hollywood star proves her clout on stage, keeping the entire audience captivated in this resonant and affecting monologue by Dennis Kelly.
Girls and Boys should be seen without any spoilers, so we will keep our description vague.
Kelly’s mastery is in creating all-encompassing tone, writing a character so warm and engaging we don't think beyond the story she’s sharing. Taking a Roald Dahl-worthy combination of mischief and darkness, he gives us an account of a marriage from first encounter to final blow.
An unnamed woman on an empty stage talks directly to us about her ‘messy, druggy, slaggy’ twenties, before meeting the man she would marry in an Easy Jet queue. We instantly warm to her broad Essex twang and wicked sense of humour. When she recalls the mad, magic intensity of falling in love our hearts soar in sympathy and when her career starts to take off we feel an invested sense of pride.
The monologue is punctuated with snippets of family life, as our heroine negotiates the bickering and whims of her two children: a screen lifts to reveal a London living room, cluttered with toys and books, all the same shade of pale turquoise. Es Devlin’s elegant, eloquent design subtly shifts with each flashback showing just a few items in full colour in an otherwise dreamy wash of monochrome.
The cracks in family life appear gradually but the real, chilling truth is delivered in short, sharp blows. We’re at the mercy of director Lyndsey Turner’s taut production, barely able to process the plot, still stunned as Mulligan takes a bow to her standing ovation.
But there’s time for this story to sink it. It stays with you, just as urgent and chilling, even when you’d rather think easier, happier thoughts.
Do all you can to get a ticket – this is unmissable theatre.
|What||REVIEW: Girls and Boys, Royal Court Theatre|
|Where||Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Sloane Square (underground)|
08 Feb 18 – 17 Mar 18, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Price||£12 - £65|
|Website||Click here to book via the Royal Court|