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Review: Lungs, at Old Vic

Claire Foy and Matt Smith star as nameless couple in compelling drama

31 October, 2019 — By Sipora Levy

Matt Smith and Claire Foy in Lungs. Photo: Helen Maybanks

LUNGS reunites Claire Foy and Matt Smith, who created such a memorable partnership in The Crown.

This is a far more low-key drama, but nonetheless, they are both equally charismatic and compelling to watch.

Foy and Smith play a nameless couple debating the ecological cost of having children. If that sounds boring, it is far from it, due to the quality of the acting and the intelligence of the production.

She is a PhD student and he is a struggling musician, in their 30s. Their discussion starts in Ikea and travels through time showing us the ups and downs of their relationship as they battle with their principles, while attempting to get pregnant and deciding about commitment.

What could have been a static, cerebral evening turns out to be an exhilarating roller-coaster of a ride, as Foy and Smith demonstrate their undeniable chemistry and considerable acting skills.

Duncan Macmillan’s script is funny, poignant and thought-provoking. He charts their relationship in quick-change scenes that makes 90 minutes, without an interval, fly by.

Director Matthew Warchus and set designer Rob Howell have created a circular stage, the surface of which resembles solar panels, with the audience on all sides. This enables their actors to create an electric atmosphere.

Foy and Smith spar like gladiators, prowling around the space, having sex and fighting about gender roles and how challenging it is to achieve emotional intimacy.

This is a must-see masterclass from true acting royalty.

Until November 9
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