Don’t Smoke in Bed at the Finborough Theatre
What better place to observe the intimacies and complexities of a romantic couple than in their bedroom? The Plane Paper Theatre Company’s production of Don’t Smoke in Bed by Aurin Squire invites us in with doors wide open. The Finborough Theatre’s cosy auditorium provides the perfect setting to observe Richard and Sheryl’s relationship as they plan to start a family together, documenting every last detail via webcam-based bedroom interviews.
The play is an honest and raw exploration of the expectations and pressures imposed by society on interracial couples in contemporary America. Each scene is more passionate than the last as the two characters work through a series of gripping dialogues and monologues, interspersed with poetically haunting fragments of nursery rhymes.
Closely surrounding the double bed at centre-stage, the audience is caught in the embarrassed curiosity of watching strangers argue as the couple struggle to prevent their relationship from unravelling. Standout scene Oranges and Lemons sees Richard attempting to explain his Jamaican parents’ reasoning behind not attending the birth of their son, which Sheryl’s Irish-American upbringing prevents her from fully understanding. Constantly at loggerheads, the characters and their intense narrative perhaps become a little exhausting towards the end of the piece, which is the only drawback to an otherwise fascinating show.
Mention must of course be made of the play’s strong casting. Claire Latham and Greg Lockett are exceptional in the roles of Richard and Sheryl, and their electric dynamic captivates the audience from start to finish.
Eye-opening and troubling, Don’t Smoke in Bed will force audiences to re-evaluate their understanding of modern society and is definitely one to catch before it closes at the end of March.
Don’t Smoke in Bed is on at the Finborough Theatre from 6th until 22nd March 2016, for further information or to book visit here.