Sap

20/08/22

Roundabout @Summerhall, Edinburgh

‘Daphne’ (Jessica Clark) is a bisexual woman living in London. She’s working for a charity during the day and, in her free time, she’s making the most of the Capital’s vibrant nightlife. On her daily commute to work, she finds herself inexplicably drawn to a flat she passes. Through an open window, she can see a host of greenery growing within, as though inside it’s a huge forest. She finds this strangely alluring.

At a business meeting, she hooks up with a man, with whom she has a one-night stand. He doesn’t call her back, so she puts it down as one of those things. Then, some time later, at a gay club, she spots a ‘Wonder Woman’, who – she’s sure – is out of her league. She is amazed when the two of them promptly hit it off.

Pretty soon, they are an item, going everywhere together, wanting nobody else. But Daphne has a surprise waiting for her, one that is going to affect her life profoundly…

Sap is one of those plays where you daren’t reveal too much about the story. Suffice to say that Rafaella Marcus has scripted a deliciously labyrinthine tale about sexual identity (specifically bi-invisibility), one that cleverly assimilates a Greek myth into its core. The maze-like structure is beautifully captured by the hyper-physical performances, directed by Jessica Lazar and Jennifer Fletcher. Clarke is a brilliant narrator, inviting the audience into her world with supreme confidence: making them laugh, flirting outrageously with them, making them care about what’s going to happen to her. Rebecca Banatvala plays all the other roles: she’s the one-night-stand, she’s Wonder Woman, she’s over-inquisitive work colleague, Miriam. Again, I don’t want to reveal too much. While Banatvala’s performance is less flamboyant than Clarke’s, she manages to slip effortlessly between her characters, inhabiting them with the merest glance, the smallest gesture. Together, the two actors create a mesmerising partnership.

I’ve already observed that Roundabout are having one hell of a year and Sap is another glittering jewel in an already abundant treasure chest. Grab your tickets for this before they’re all snapped up.

5 stars

Philip Caveney

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