Lobster is the debut performance from new production company, Snapper Theatre. Lobster is at Theatre503 above The Latchmere in Battersea until 20 January. This is a play you do not want to miss.
5 stars: "Lobster shows the hard and soft sides of lesbian relationships and life"
Tickets: £15, £12, £10, £5 plus pay what you can on Saturday matinees.
RUNNING TIME: 90mins (no interval)
Lobster opens at a party where we are introduced to J and K. The opening dialogue sets the scene of the characters, as they talk directly to the audience. We find out that they are both invited to the same party by a mutual friend, Lily. J and K separately introduce themselves to the audience from different sides of the room.
K and J are introduced by matchmaker-friend Lily and it is clear at that moment that they already know each other (small world being a lesbian in London isn't it?!). They both share their inner thoughts and memories with the audience, showing us that they are indeed polar opposites. The silence between them when they meet at the party before the flashback was intense and sucked you in immediately.
We are led down a series of flashbacks through their relationship. The script was well-written with lots of really funny lines that had the audience in fits of laughter.
K is the dry, cynical and career-driven woman who gets down, doesn't really know who she is or what she wants. She has a shadow that she can't quite shake.
J is the always-happy woman who knows exactly what she wants, always sees the positive side of life and wants marriage and a family. She will do anything to create that family with K.
We learn early on how they met on the dating site, Plenty of Fish. J messaged K with "Be careful of your eyes, they could lead a girl astray". To which K responded "Be careful of your jokes because they're shit". This is the kind of dialogue that allows for so much laughter and fun. The two characters, although different, complete each other and you can really see why they are a couple.
The reference to lobster comes from their first date, where a slightly tipsy Jay got confused and said "the world is a lobster" accidentally rather than "the world is your oyster". Rather than admit the error, she embarked on an extravagant explanation of why it is a lobster and not an oyster - persuading both herself and Kay. Heck, she even convinced me!
There was a beautiful scene where they sat at the bottom of a swimming pool having an imaginary tea party that was beautifully choreographed with a beautiful backing track that pulled you into the moment. You could sense and hear the audience delight at the beauty of this scene, which was perfected with subtle blue lighting.
The polarity between the them being deep in the moment in their memories and playing out the scene, and talking directly to us in the audience in a somewhat flippant and retrospective way that you do when you look back on a relationship through a different lens mirrored their relationship of dark and light.
The scenes are intimate and you really get into their dynamic. I was drawn to them, and was able to relate to a number of situations from relationships past and present - another example of the great writing. The audience laughed at the relatable moments such as dead arms, stealing the duvet and having your partner be mad at you and you don't know why but you generically apologise in the hope of getting past it. With references to Plenty of Fish dating site, Caitlin Moran, Netflix and Chill, Cards Against Humanity and the mundanity of adulting and food shopping help to make it relatable to pretty much everyone in the audience in one way or another.
As well as the comedic one-liners, and the relatable relationship dynamics, there was a sad side as it becomes clear that K suffers from mental health issues, and during their relationship her close friend dies. K's mental health is referenced lightly throughout, but it is at this moment that it becomes clear that the dark side that makes her cynical and dry is something that many of us may recognise in ourselves or others. Whilst covering a tough subject, the writing and performance allowed you to include the uplifting comedy without diminishing the mental health angle, the constant dark shadow inside. The comedic lines create balance and laughter which surrounds the somewhat dark subject.
I also quite liked that J's reference to her previous relationship, where she was almost married and tried to have a family was gender-neutral. It was not clear at any time if her previous partner was a man or a woman. They were not named and simply referred to as they. This is clever writing as it means that the audience can picture whichever gender they wish.
I also liked how the story was deep and covered a lot of time, it really took you through the relationship from the very beginning and you really felt like you were on the journey with them - and like all good lesbian relationships - you think it could easily be 5-10 years until they reference time and it is just a few months!
When J let slip that she loved K on Valentine's Day the whole audience was in silence for a whole minute whilst there was silence. My stomach dropped as I wondered how K was going to react. The tension was intense - I think everyone remembers that awkwardness and nervousness in a new relationship when the first person drops the L word!
We got to experience the challenges of relationships when dynamics change such as career opportunities, hard times. The internal jealousy of when one does well and the other experiences challenges.
My favourite moment from this production was when K was upset about her friend's death and J was trying to find a way to support K and they end up dancing close. K is visibly struggling and upset, and J is just holding her and being there, silent and supportive. The emotion and connection between them both in this scene was electric and the emotion was screaming out from the stage; I found myself in tears. The production and direction of this scene in particular was fantastic.
The whole performance was a rollercoaster of emotions, very much as relationships and life can be, and you can't help but root for them to have their happy ever after, even though you know from the opening scene that they aren't together any more, and this is the past.
An excellent debut piece from a new theatre company, I'm excited to see what else they produce!
J is optimistic, bubbly and excited for life. She's ready to settle down and begin the family that she's always dreamed of, and she's finally found the perfect person to do that with: K. Except that K is cynical, independent, and uncertain about her future.
But opposites attract... Right?
Lobster is a modern-day love story, exposing the universal pressures on the millennial generation in an intimate and heart-breaking new comedy. In Snapper Theatre’s debut production, writer Lucy Foster paints the struggle of two women desperate to love each other, even when love simply isn’t enough.
- Writer: Lucy Foster @LucyElizaFoster
- Director: Kayla Feldman @kaylafeldman
- Producer: Julia Mucko
- Cast: Louise Beresford and Alexandra Reynolds
- Photographs: Ali Wright
About Snapper Theatre
Snapper Theatre is a new feminist company focussing on telling stories that are not often told and finding new ways of telling them. Their aim is to create powerful and engaging theatre that is both universal to the audience and specific to its subject matter.
@snappertheatre @theatre503 #503lobster