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Presumption at Southwark Playhouse

Elizabeth Peasley

Presumption portrays a dilemma all will understand and maybe even personally identify.

It does so with style and a truly zany and likeable flavour. Chris Thorpe and Lucy Ellinson as the couple are both faultless and compelling in their portrayals.

A man and a woman state their heart felt thoughts on the stage floor which is intriguingly patterned with various geometrical shapes. (We quickly realise these are for the exact positioning of furniture implicit to the unwinding of the evening)

She: 'I do love him- I wonder if somebody else could do a better job?'
He: ' I don't not love her.'

The stage is now set for a very novel approach looking into the relationship of a couple who are separately and sometimes together analysing their seven years together. Do they go forward for more years or not?

The play proceeds with a series of prop placements, tables, chairs, sofa, cupboards, being introduced at gaps with remarkable panache and strength by the two actors; each change heralds a new thought pattern and in so doing the two replay previous conversation at startling speed rather like watching a fast rewinding of a video. This rapid speech is expertly and cleverly performed. The two keep pondering 'Why do I love you? Is it enough to love you?' Hypothetical scenarios are imagined -'people who live in war zones have relationships sorted, they get on with their lives together.'

Time and love are the themes. Photographs and restacking book shelves prompt thoughts of how far they have both come and most importantly that there is a lot further to travel.
Although there is doubt and questioning throughout, with the reality of living jostling with dark nights of the soul, the closing minutes bring optimism in the words of the two characters 'Love creeps up on you' and 'It's trying to make love visible again.' He makes her a cup of tea. The story is told.

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