We fortified ourselves with a rather nice meal at Balans,where the food was good, but they do seem to have embraced the whole 'serve stuff without proper plates or glasses' thing, which is a little annoying!
The plya was Taylor Mac's Hir, at the Bush Theatre in Shepherds Bush. The theatre is small, and when we arrived we learned that Ashley McGuire was unwell, and therefore her role was performed by a stand in (whose name I didn't make a note of, I'm afraid), script in hand. She did a very good job, managing to perform, rather than simply to read.
Production photo from theatre website (c) Ellie Kurttz
The play features Arthur Darvill as Isaac, returning home after 3 years in the army, in an unspecified war-zone where his role has been in the mortuary department, collecting the dead (and their body parts) for repatriation. He doesn't find quite what he expects.
His father, Arnold, (Andy Williams) has suffered a stroke, and his wife, Paige, is using the opportunity to revenge herself upon him for a lifetime of bullying and humiliation, by refusing to cook, or clean, and by forcing him to wear a nightgown. And when Isaac's sister Max appears, he, and we, learn that ze is transitioning, prefers to use the pronouns 'ze' and 'hir', and is planning to move to an anarchist commune, if only someone will take hir there..
It is, perhaps understandably, all something of a shock to Isaac, particularly as it becomes increasingly obvious, he has his own issues.
The play has lots of funny moments, and it attempt to deal with a whole range of issues, from what makes a home home, to issues of elder abuse, domestic abuse, gender.. at times it is very heavy handed, and can feel a little as though you have been held in your seat and bludgeoned with good intentions, but the play did come together - I appreciated it a lot more by the end of the 2nd act than I had at the interval.
I was very impressed with Arthur Darvill's performance, a man clearly holding on by a thread, and desperate for the familiarity and security of home, and Griffyn Gilliagan as Max managed to stay just on the right side of parody in portraying a teenager with even more than the usual number of issues to contend with!
I left feeling that the play was interesting rather than enjoyable, but the performances were very, very good.
It runs until 22nd July.