Friday, 4 March 2016

FIVE star review for The Solid Life Of Sugar Water, at the National Theatre


LOSING a baby must be one of the most painful things a parent can experience. How to reconnect then with your partner when that happens is the subject of a quite astonishing play now on at the National’s Temporary Theatre.
The Solid Life Of Sugar Water is a two hander written by Jack Thorne featuring Alice and Phil who have lost a longed for baby shortly before the due date.
We see them in the process of healing their wounds, desperate to communicate with each other and not always succeeding.
It is staged by Graeae Theatre Company, which aims to break down barriers and challenge preconceptions by placing disabled actors centre stage – in this case one actor who is deaf and one who has an impairment of one arm.
It is also a fully accessible production with captions and audio descriptions at all performances.
The play is quite beautiful and the actors who play Alice and Phil, Genevieve Barr and Arthur Hughes, put in stunning performances.
The action jumps around between the present and the past and we see how they got together – a rather inauspicious meeting in a post office – to their first and fourth dates, the first time they had sex, the nightmare that unfolds when they rush to hospital after Alice, heavily pregnant, starts bleeding heavily, and then how they try and reconnect with each other afterwards.
The action takes place against a mock up of an upright double bed in which they spend a lot of their time.
It features plenty of strong language and scenes of an adult and sexual nature – in fact there is a lot of talking about sex, what they did and how they did it making it refreshingly candid, honest and very funny.
Beautifully acted and staged it also challenges our preconceptions and is raw, visceral, tender, blunt, poignant, at times hilarious and at others heartrendingly sad – sending the audience on a rollercoaster of emotions.

The Solid Life Of Sugar Water is on at the Temporary Theatre, National Theatre, Belvedere Road, until Saturday, March 19. Tickets cost £20. Visit or call the box office on 020 7452 3000.

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