Nick (Jamie Wilkes) and Elena (Serena Manteghi) broke up – two years ago. Now, they find themselves back together in their old flat, catching up. Nick is doing well for himself, had his book published, started a new relationship and is investing his money into art. Elena on the other hand is unhappy in her current house share, and therefore planning to move to France and start a new chapter of her life. A bottle of wine is opened and so the story of The Edit unfolds.
Lydia Denno has thoughtfully turned Theatre503 into a homely flat inspired by 50’s minimalistic interior design. It feels as if everything on stage has its place, highlighting the loss that the two have encountered.
And we soon learn about this loss. With loving detail, the couples’ history emerges in front of our eyes and we follow their ups and downs throughout the evening. They come closer together, they move apart. The attraction and chemistry lie heavy in the air and I find myself rooting for them as they allow their emotions to take over and let everything out that has been bottled up for years.
Nick and Elena revisit their past, embrace old routines and notice their feelings bubbling to the surface again. The Edit is a show directed by Joe Hufton in a way that doesn’t miss a trick. The awkward silences when you see someone for the first time in years and have so much to say you don’t even know where to start, an emotional dance number to David Bowie’s ‘Heroes’, eating sandwiches on the floor, and the arguments that are so important at the time but don’t make a difference in the end. And just as in real life, it isn’t that easy, and so the tenderness is followed by a fight, by caressing each other, and then another fight.
The Edit is a beautifully accurate portrait of what life is like after having gone through a break-up and the emotions and memories that connect us as humans. It is also a reminder that everyone has their own version of reality. And Nick’s Elena might not be the Elena her best friend got to know.
Writer Sarah Gordon has done amazingly in putting the emotional rollercoaster of a break-up into a play while outlining the importance of self-care and admitting the dangers of a toxic relationship. The whole play feels like it should be secluded behind closed doors, as if we shouldn’t really be watching because it is so personal, but we just can’t look away. It feels forbidden, private and very, very real.
That is partially due to the actors whose chemistry is undeniable and who perfectly embody the love between two people that have a long history with each other. They feel as human as anything with their quirks and inside jokes about Dobby the house-elf. This realistic portrayal couldn’t even be interrupted by a flowerpot, mounted to the wall, that fell down during the performance and broke into a million pieces. The actors found their way back into the world of the play effortlessly and were back as quirky Elena and awkward Nick seconds later.
The Edit is playing at Theatre503 until 11 January. For more information and tickets, visit the Theatre503 website.