Director: George Perrin
Reviewer: Julia Taylor
During the Second World War and the subsequent Cold War, many couples deliberately chose not to have children because they were concerned about the outcome and didn’t want to ruin the lives of their offspring.
Duncan Macmillan’s play, Lungs, follows a similar theme, this time very much in a 21st-century mindset. For now the cause of their hesitation to breed is climate change caused by carbon emissions. It takes place in a pop-up theatre in the round that gives an intimate feel as the couple in question discuss several intimate matters. The couple, played by Sian Rees-Williams and Abdul Salis, are in of all places IKEA when they suddenly consider whether or not to have a child. Who knows what triggers it off?Perhaps they have seen cots or other baby furniture there?
You are made to feel like another customer eavesdropping. Their quick-fire conversation follows a logical argument and is well worth being a fly on the wall for. The only thing is that the fly is likely to fall off with laughter. For this seemingly serious production contains a lot of humour. It is initially the man who raises the question about having a baby and the woman responds at great length.
Rees-Williams’ character speaks at a rate of knots, arguing intellectually on the subject although, initially, she says that she loved dolls as a child and pregnancy was “an assumption”. Her fast-paced dialogue must have lasted 10 minutes.
There is a moment when they set about conceiving (not in IKEA). She wants it to be sacred and he experiences “animal lust”. You realise that most babies are conceived by lust rather than consideration. One profound remark sums it up: “We are not going to over think this. We are doing it.”
Rees-Williams and Salis convey their relationship well. There is lots of eye contact and clear facial expression.The ending of Lungs is certainly unexpected and gives us real food for thought.
Runs until 20 September 2015