Borders – Drayton Arms Theatre, London

Reviewer: Scott Matthewman

Writer: Nimrod Danishman, translated by Adi Drori

Director: Neta Gracewell

Gay hookup apps such as Grindr find contacts by distance for convenience. But there are situations where an as-the-crow-flies value conceals a cultural and social distance. Such is the case for the men in Nimrod Danishman’s Borders, who find themselves chatting via the app from either side of the Israel-Lebanon border.

As the enforced separation constrains Yaniv Yafe’s Boaz and Joseph Samimi’s George to online chat only, there ensues a delicate negotiation of how far, and how fast, their sexting will go. Director Neta Gracewell keeps the two actors apart on stage, never engaging in eye contact and instead orating each text message into the ether. Nevertheless, the chemistry between the two characters is electrifying.

Danishman captures the various stages of the couple’s online relationship with crystalline clarity, from the initial flurries of constant messages to the moments after a fight, where each wants to restart the conversation but matters struggle to get past an initial “hey”. And as tensions across the border escalate, the pair’s struggles to reconcile their differing loyalties is movingly portrayed.

Ethan Cheek’s set, consisting of a series of hinged wooden blocks that concertina up to form beds or stretch out to form a physical wall, effectively conveys the ever-shifting barriers, physical and mental, between the two frustrated lovers.

As Borders completes its brisk running time, the production leaves us with two young men in whose lives we are completely invested. This charming, multi-layered story is one that deserves a longer run.

Continues until 17 February 2022

The Reviews Hub Score

Charming, thoughtful gay love story

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