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The Evening Standard
Worlds End
Trafalgar Studios 2, WC2
28 February 2008

Anyone in, or recently out of a relationship is strongly advised to take out 70 minutes post work and pre dinner to see this biting look at love in a basement flat gone sour. Playwright Paul Sellar surely writes from brutal lived experience, but it’s the sort that, unfortunately, we can all relate to.

Once upon a time, Ben and Kat were happy, he a wannabe writer and she a struggling artist. Now Kat is back in their former home for the final time, to pack her things ready for transportation by new boyfriend Josh. Ben wasn’t meant to be there, but he can’t resist the opportunity to reopen still-suppurating wounds.

It’s a delight o see so much that’s right stuffed into such a short running time and tiny playing area. The stage is littered with the accumulated detritus of a very 21st century relationship: ethnic tourist tat from budget travels together with modish books and DVD’s.

Guy Retallack’s intelligent production has Kat pack and wrap diligently and as she does, she and Ben haggle over things even more important than the IKEA sofa – namely the jagged shards of memories from a joint past.

Charlotte Lucas makes Kat a young woman who is resolutely Getting On With Her Life. Nonetheless, Lucas poignantly suggests that, underneath this bravado, she’s ready to crumple at any minute. “I’m embarrassed at how much I loved you.” She says, softly and devastatingly.

We can see the attraction of Merryn Owen’s Ben, magnetic but volatile and capable of immense mental cruelty. What’s harder to fathom is Kat’s attraction to Josh (Jamie Belman), a smug git who doesn’t look the type to want an artistic girlfriend with stripy socks. They won’t last, but this play certainly should.

Fiona Mountford