Lobster, Theatre503

By guest critic Jo Trainor

Breakups suck. Unexpectedly bumping into your ex sucks even more. For exes J and K it’s even worse, because they’re unknowingly about to be set up with each other. 

Snapper Theatre have called Lobster a “heartbreak comedy”, but it’s also pretty life affirming. The play us how precious silly moments like building blanket forts can be, or how embarrassing but brilliant first dates are. I definitely did some crying, but came out with a smile on my face, wanting to be more J and appreciate the joy in the every day. 

There are few issues that arise from the way the play is structured. Characters J and K are re-introduced at a party after their breakup, and in the moments before they say hello to each other, they tell us how they got to this place. It’s just a little tricky to grasp that this is what is going on until the end. The muffled songs and lighting cues from the party pop up every so often so it’s unclear where this conversation is taking place. Are they finally confronting each other about what happened? Can the other people at the party hear it? It’s not of the utmost importance, but it takes away from the beautiful story unfolding in front of you. 

The performances from Louise Beresford (K) and Alexandra Reynolds (J) are outstanding. J is goofy, has boundless joy and an enviable sense of self-worth, and Reynolds plays it perfectly. There are moments where it seems like she’s filled with helium as J floats across the stage to the caustic and witty K. The relationship is obviously flawed, but there is a brilliant chemistry that binds them together. Reynolds and Beresford bounce off each other and a hold each other up in their fragile, glass bubble. 

There are a few plotlines that are somewhat underdeveloped, as ideas appear out of the blue and are left hanging. Lobster doesn’t need to be any longer, just more concise. It’s sweet and sad, with a little room for improvement. 

Lobster runs through 20 January.

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