Mike Bartlett is probably best known for writing the award-winning TV series Doctor Foster that had viewers wincing on their sofa, but he’s been causing emotional unrest amongst his audiences for years with such plays as Bull, King Charles III and Cock, to name but a few. Surprisingly his first play, Not Talking, hasn’t been performed on stage until now, and what a treat it is for us to be able to see it at the Arcola Theatre’s in-the-round main stage. And just like his later works, this 70-minute play has his characters going through seismic personal upheaval. We follow two couples, one close to the end of their lives together and the other at the beginning, who tell us about their relationships. Neither of them seems to be sharing their deep feelings with each other, instead opting to keep them bottled up. Bartlett’s dialogue effortlessly flows from one player to the other as they gradually reveal how they truly feel about their situation, which ultimately sheds light on what connection all of them.
E8TheatreTuesday May 22