BOTI REVIEWS | Chemistry

Set in the distant future and revolving around a conversation between two people who are prospective parents, Chemistry is one of those shows that grabs your attention right from the very beginning. Directed by Penny Gkritzapi and written by Brighton’s own Sam Chittenden, we had the chance to watch the opening show at the Lantern Theatre at the ACT drama school in Kemptown.

The play starts with the lead characters introducing themselves to each other and the audience, quickly taking a deep dive into the world of human needs and emotions. It stands out as a piece of art that portrays a man’s need for intimacy with the same intensity as it shows a woman’s need for independence.

The primary topic of conversation between the lead characters revolves around having a baby and that serves as an explanation to the audience about the circumstances they are in. The two are faced with the challenge of having to explore one other within a set time frame without having the option of actually being with the other person – this is a world where people can’t touch.

This accurately captures the struggle of not being able to be intimate with our loved ones, a struggle many of us faced during lockdown. The conversation delves into the characters’ pasts and reflects on how they each perceive human touch and interaction and takes the audience on an intriguing journey of discovering the reasoning behind that perception.

The characters question various aspects of gender roles in our society today by looking back from their future, making it feel relevant to the times we live in now. Exploring themes of family, motherhood, love and human companionship, Chemistry is a thought-provoking show that is fantastically put together.

The energy that nervous but curious Jay brings to the show is equally matched by the mysterious, experienced and distant Bea and, together, the two characters ensure there isn’t a single moment in the show where you’re not hooked. The chemistry between the lead performers fizzes and Rowland Stirling’s performance is filled with emotion and energy as he breathes life into Jay. This is matched by Harriet Main as Bea, amazing us with her voice control and sudden displays of emotions.

If theatre and drama are your cup of tea, this is one show you do not want to miss at this year’s Fringe. It’s hands down one of the best shows we’ve been to so far.

By Yasir Hareed

Chemistry is on every day until Monday 29th May at The Lantern Theatre at ACT drama school.