Who saves who when you’re both in the water? Danny and the Deep Blue Sea is a beautiful and moving work of theatre. Danny (Charlie Cousins) and Roberta (Laura Maitland) meet in a run-down bar and begin to talk, finding a connection despite their brutal and broken pasts.
It’s fiction, but it still shouldn’t work: these characters connecting so deep, so quickly. It’s something even they’re aware of, with playwright John Patrick Shanley having Danny and Roberta commenting on it throughout their time together. Even with the preposterousness, however, the cast make it feel true. More than that, Charlie and Laura make Danny and Roberta’s relationship a lightning bolt, tracing an impossible path raw and bright from the sky to the ground.
In a delightfully kinda-dilapidated space at Siteworks, the audience are placed in the middle of a long room. The bar is at one end, then at interval the play pivots around to the other end for the rest of the story. It’s haphazard and wonderfully effective.
Small details play among the large performances: A single loose thread hanging from a lampshade; the duct tape on Danny’s boots; or a speaker playing a cacophony of shouts, traffic, and sirens outside that, while monstrous when waiting before the show, becomes muffled and perfect when sitting down, placing the world of the play in some other distant place.
The sea has been painted and scratched in rough swirls across the space in the second half. It’s a fitting suggestion considering the tumult Danny and Roberta still find themselves struggling in. The fact Charlie and Laura were able to deliver these tremendous performances while directing themselves at the same time is remarkable, including one of the most moving endings to a play I’ve ever seen. Who saves who when you’re both in the water? You cling together!
Danny and The Deep Blue Sea
Siteworks, 33 Saxon Street, Brunswick
Performance: Wednesday 6 June 2018 – 7:30pm
Season continues to 23 June 2018
Information and Bookings: www.trybooking.com
Image: Charlie Cousins (Danny) and Laura Maitland (Roberta) in Danny and The Deep Blue Sea – photo by Pier Carthew
Review: David Collins