“Terribly boring, extra-marital monogamy.” When it comes to dramas centred on affairs, we’ve become hard to impress. Rust, written by Kenny Emson and directed by Eleanor Rhode, follows Nadia (Claire Lams) and Daniel (Jon Foster). They rent a flat together under the pseudonym “Mr and Mrs White” to escape from their separate married lives once a week. It’s a chance to be young, forget responsibilities, and live differently.
Lams and Foster’s chemistry is electric, and their understated performances communicate so much that is unsaid between their characters. The character traits that they so subtly hint at in the first few scenes have consequences later in the play.
All the drama unfolds within the flat, and there’s a certain intimacy in only ever seeing the characters here. Without being introduced to the people who may be hurt by their affair, we are swept into their excitement of escaping their everyday lives. The set consists only of a pile of cushions, which initially has an aura of childish glee before it becomes a reminder of how untidy, and unrespectable, their lives are.
The narrative is roughly based on Nadia and Daniel setting rules for themselves before they break them. Emson’s writing recognises the tropes we are used to and plays with them to his advantage. Rather than labouring over plot points, they are communicated in the most succinct way possible that communicates everything the audience needs to know. It may fail to surprise you, but you won’t care as the strength of the writing is enough to carry it. Four stars.
Whispers from the crowd:
My friend didn't like it, I loved it. I found it moving, powerful and absorbing.