In spite of their seemingly opposite personalities, it’s love at first sight for J (Alexandra Reynolds) and K (Louise Beresford). J’s excited and positive attitude is in contrast with the cynical and coarse K, but they balance each other perfectly. However, as happens in the real world, life gets in the way. Snapper Theatre’s debut production Lobster is an intimate and universal portrayal of a relationship.
Directed by Kayla Feldman, Lobster is heartbreakingly relatable in a comprehensive way. J and K meet, fall in love, celebrate and argue like any other couple. Their victories and losses are real and deprived of any fictionalised sugar-coating. Pride gives way to irrational envy, and small achievements are overshadowed by pain and loss.
Lucy Foster’s writing is engaging and fresh, bubbling with cultural references and aptly aimed at a young, millennial audience. Her script encapsulates the potential of a new generation, creating a modern and progressive piece of theatre. J and K could be anyone – they could be a straight couple or two men, they just happen to be two women. Foster’s characters narrate their story through a mix of internal monologue and dialogue. Although they are aware of one another, they each give space without being afraid to intervene.
The actresses’ portrayal couldn’t be more different (even though there’s a lack of diversity that could have been easily achieved). Reynolds’ depiction of the overly enthusiastic J is in perfect opposition to Beresford’s sharper and reflective mindset.
Jamie Simmons’ design is peculiar and compelling; “Happy fucking whatever” is present in giant gold helium balloons throughout the show (although the f is quickly removed after the beginning by J, who hates any form of vulgarity). Two chairs, a table, and a box of props are the tools to create the whole world J and K inhabit. The choices of sound design are also interesting, as Annie May Fletcher creates an often muffled playlist of modern songs: from despacito to pop-rock music, the audio aspect of the play is impressive.
Even though the strength of Foster’s Lobster lies in its universality, the decision to put two women as the focus and explore their happiness and tensions shines a light on how little this is done. Too often, LGBTQ+ stories have men as the main characters and are mainly aimed to expose and emphasise certain topical issues. Like so many straight others before it, Lobster is essentially a love story, but it’s as needed as any other socially engaged play.
Later last year, Luca Guadagnino’s film Call Me By Your Name accrued general praise for portraying a gay relationship without any agenda. Already this year, we’ve got Lobster. Two pieces of art that approach homosexual love candidly and simply, by showing the good and the bad that everyone faces in life.
To read more about Lobster, click here for an interview with director Kayla Feldman.