The New Romantic
A quick Google search of “polyamory in the media” will point you to essays calling for greater representation citing existing media texts about love triangles that are either a farcical comedy or it ends in unhappiness. Playwright and Rabbits director Sadie Spencer is here to help shift our perceptions of three-way relationships with her lovely new work The New Romantic.
The New Romantic pitches itself as black comedy about polyamory, love, lust and the myths we live by. That title presents itself as a breakdown of the conventional romance narrative and the play follows through in taking this pledge, triumphing due to a sharp script full of wit and candour.
Erin (Eleanor Henderson), Antonia (Milli Proust) and Bruno (Edward Davis) circle around each other’s lives until they spiral into the centre, seemingly sealing their destiny as a throuple. One night of lovemaking threatens to interrupt the bond between them, forcing them to re-examine how they should navigate this connection.
The story is largely driven by Erin and Antonia, jocular characters who explore their feelings through intimate connection and by voicing their inner thoughts directly to the audience. The synchronisation of similar feelings points to an attachment that was meant to be. Erin and Antonia keep us engaged by Henderson and Proust’s delivery of shrewd performances.
The writing is so delightfully funny that the thespians teeter on the edge of breaking character. It can’t be so easy to maintain a flawless sleight of hand when they have to forcefully say things like, “I don’t want to be kinky Mary Poppins!”. That said, the strong engagement with the audience through the fourth-wall-breaking commentary encourages the actors to smirk and giggle along with the crowd so that we’re bound together in this experience and the rollercoaster of emotions it entails.
For the most part of the production, Bruno is stood still in the middle, naked, behind a double bass with his mouth and nipples covered by black tape. There’s certainly a broad feminist point being made here about media representation of the covered bits in regard to gender equality, evoking the recent topfreedom movement.
A strong commentary as well as great entertainment, The New Romantic insightfully challenges notions of polygamous relationships and the related complicated feelings with a powerful script that finishes with a noteworthy declaration of intentions for the future of the charming trio at the centre.
The New Romantic is at the Cavern from 27th February until 3rd March 2019. For further information or to book visit the show’s festival page here.
Read more reviews from our Vault Festival 2019 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Vault Festival website here.