Writer: Lucinda Coyle
Director: Stanley Walton
Our Last First is an ambitious new play from writer Lucinda Coyle, a self-described theatre nerd. In lockdown she decided to pen a script without gender, pronouns, ages, sexualities or physical descriptions after a rant with a friend at the casting process in the industry and its effect on actors.
The play starts with two strangers meeting in a cafe who go for coffee not tea, as tea is not sexy, and quickly becomes a hilarious look at how a relationship starts and progresses over time, It examines the realities of getting to know someone, their life and friends, which maybe not what you expect or signed up for and the foibles, habits and peculiarities of the other which one must accept with time to make a relationship work.
However, Coyle has taken the idea one step further, with the cast being randomly allotted their roles immediately prior to coming on stage each evening, therefore shifting the dynamic of the play each performance and meaning each actor has to know each character’s part. It would have been nice to see this allocation process and the actors’ reactions.
In this performance Tazmyn-May Gebbett (She/Her) is paired with Aitch Wylie (They/Them) as the two main characters falling in love. They are a superb match and the play flows with ease, nuances not lost and the one-liners landing with laughter from the audience throughout. This look at their first and lasts of their relationship is thoroughly enjoyable and the single 90-minute act flies by
The set design is kept simple allowing for rapid scene changes channelling time and places with ease. However, the lack of a raised stage means those at the back are left struggling to see the actors through the bobbing heads of those in front trying to get a view and are left just to listen if the actors are not standing.
Given the stated ambition there is a lack in the age range of the actors, none with visible disability and the ethnicities and cultural backgrounds could be more varied. But you will want to see this play again to see how the dynamic changes in each performance. It is witty, ambitious and works well and from now on you will find it hard not to ask for a sexy coffee or a kinky hot chocolate.
Runs until 19 November 2021