The Acid Test

It’s less than a year since the opening of Spur of the Moment, Anya Reiss’s
debut play which garnered a clutch of awards. She’s still several months
away from her 20th birthday, but The Acid Test, her second play, proves she’s no
one-hit wonder.

Reiss stays on similar turf in The Acid Test, her latest 90 minute portrayal of
dysfunctional middle class life, but this time she’s moved her characters
out of a family environment and into the London flat shared by three young
women in their very early twenties, fresh from uni and still carving out an
identity for themselves.

21 year old Ruth is distraught because she’s just broken up with her serious
boyfriend (the oddly named and unseen Twix who dyed his hair green for a
party rally and couldn’t get it back to normal). Dana (just a year older,
but considerably more cynical) maintains that sex is much like the
validation of a parking ticket as she debates whether sleeping with her boss
will further her career.

Completing the trio is Ruth’s girlhood friend,
Jessica (Lydia Wilson), who’s still a virgin and upsets the dynamics of the
flatshare by bringing her father, Jim, back to sleep on the sofa when he’s
chucked out of the marital home and replaced by the roofer.

In the course of a Friday night and Saturday morning of excessive smoking,
swearing and heavy drinking, inhibitions are dropped and home truths spilled
and Jessica’s antagonistic feelings towards her father are given full vent.

Despite her growing embarrassment, her flatmates think he’s great, and
there’s the intermittent possibility of boundaries being crossed which
really should be steered well clear of.

Simon Godwin’s production confirms that Reiss has a fine ear for fast, comic
dialogue and is well served by designer (Paul Wills’ set leads us through a
long communal corridor into the girlie clutter behind their front door) and
cast, with Denis Lawson’s 57 year old Jim relishing the unexpected female
attention lavished upon him by Phoebe Fox’s flaky Ruth and Vanessa Kirby’s
sexy blonde Dana as his own daughter becomes increasingly alienated.


Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Tube: Sloane Square
020 7565
Until 11th June

– Louise Kingsley