Friday, 15 November 2013

Nut at the National



NUT, now on at the award-winning Shed stage, is a tough one to crack. Making her debut for the National Theatre, the play has been written and directed by debbie tucker green - who seems to dislike capital letters. 
It is about depression and self harm and centres on Elayne, played beautifully by Nadine Marshall.
As the 70-minute play progresses, we see how she craves isolation - evident in her refusal to replace batteries for the doorbell - the results of her self-harming and the relationships she has with her few friends and family.
To begin with Elayne is sitting amongst a pile of lists, and making one about her funeral arrangements - she's not dying but she is clearly depressed. 
This constant portrayal of doom is irritating her friend Aimee, played by Sophie Stanton, who winds her up about how she would organise Elayne's funeral and how many people would come to her own.
As a result the two spend much of the first scene bickering about the arrangements to these non events whilst trying to outdo each other on whose funeral is going to be the most well attended.
The sub plot concerns Elayne's sister - known only as Ex-Wife and her former husband - known only as Ex Husband who enjoy a heated argument about who has the closer relationship with their 11-year-old daughter.
Indeed Sharlene Whyte and Gershwyn Eustache Jr's powerful, humorous and poignant performance really lights up the stage in an otherwise gloomy atmosphere.
Although there is some ambiguity about this play - for example, it is not clear where it is set or whether the boy who comes on is Elayne's son, or if he is dead or alive - what is clear is the huge sadness that hangs over the proceedings. 
It may depress you but it is a production which is both poetic and well acted.

nut runs until Thursday, December 5
Tickets cost from £12. Call the box office on 020 7452 3244.

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