Review: Boston Marriage at The Spring, Havant

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The Bench take the bit between their teeth with David Mamet’s 1990 linguistically-complex Boston Marriage at The Spring this week and next.

With a cast of three you need to have strong performers and director Mark Wakeman falls on his feet with Robin Hall, Julie Wood and Jessi Wilson.

Hall and Wood play Anna and Claire, a pair of somewhat-more-than-friends in 1900s’ New England.

Their already-complex relationship is further perturbed by Anna’s affair with a married man – simply to fund their lifestyle – and Claire’s infatuation with a younger woman.

Mamet’s language is sublime, from the heightened formality of the almost-Wildean dialogue to the riotous – and often unexpected – descent into four-letter Anglo-Saxonism.

The cast don’t always get the rhythm of the language spot-on, but I suspect a few professionals would get tangled up in this dense forest of words.

Hats off to Jessi Wilson as Catherine the maid. She clearly knows that there’s no such thing as a small part and can raise a laugh with just a waft of her feather-duster.

Wakeman’s direction – here often akin to choreography – is both unfussy but occasionally ritualistic (Catherine’s numerous tellings-off from her boss follow the same pattern around the stage).