Stephen is just like you and I; young, socially awkward and probably going through some sort of quarter-life crisis. And we’ve all been there, getting ready for that first date. “You’ve invited her to your house, what if she’s expecting more?” quips Maggie. It’s that hour before the date and she’s on hand to help him get ready, prepare dinner, clean up his flat and ease his anxieties.
As the pair patter on about who’s the better feminist, and the demise of Sandra Bullock’s career, neither address the fact that unlike the typical and willing wingwoman, she’s chained to his radiator.
Both actors sustain the audience’s attention with really smart, whimsical and bawdy dark humour that at times, will leave you as uncomfortable, as you are watching this woman’s impending captivity. You see, their somewhat endearing dynamic is reminiscent of a strong friendship with both parties comfortable enough to make fun of one another. Like any good friendship, there’s nothing p-c about the conversation. What the two actors successfully convey however is the simultaneously sinister tone to this friendship because it’s also about the relationship between a kidnapper and his victim; something that we become all too aware of every time she struggles to reach for something.
As the play progresses, the audience’s laughter grows louder, a subtle tension builds as we learn a little more about her confinement. And all this time, the elephant in the room is never addressed. But because the audience also grows so comfortable with these two, it becomes bizarrely familiar.
Alex Wells-King gives Stephen a certain humanity while Monica Forero was fantastic in the conflicting role of victim/confidante. And though I was left wanting so much more, this two-hander play is excellently executed and, is as much about a kidnapper and his victim as it is about insecurities, friendship and how appearances aren’t always as they seem.
I Keep A Woman in My Flat Chained to a Radiator was performed as part of The Nottingham New Theatre’s STUFF, by Theatre, Apparently. For more information about The Nottingham New Theatre, visit their website: http://newtheatre.org.uk/whats-on/
Edited by Katie Randall