To say that Chemistry takes place in an intimate setting would be putting it mildly, considering the audience was packed into three rows. The extreme closeness meant that every audience member felt like they were part of the show. Chemistry takes us inside the minds of a modern day couple in America, both of whom suffer from mental illness.
Exploring the day to day lives of the two revealed how both had diametrically opposite ways of coping with their mental illness. The main characters were played by Caoimhe Farren (Steph) who is complacent spending her days indoors, and James Mear (Jamie) whose life revolves around his work to the point that it is hard for him to distinguish the two. On top of the aforementioned proximity of the audience both actors were essentially alone; as a non traditional set design left them with only a couple of props along with strobe lights and haze. The fact that both were able to pull the audience so thoroughly into the reality of Chemistry is a testament to their skills.
Whilst certainly not preachy Chemistry proved subtly educational, as it demonstrates that there are a million variations and methods of coping. It’s a hard, painful topic to get in touch with, but Chemistry has the formula for success.
Chemistry will be showing until the 23rd of November. For more information contact the Finborough Theatre at www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk
By Paige Williams