Adrenalin...Heart

Georgia Fitch
Bush Theatre
(2004)

This two-hander was one of the successes of the Naked Talent season of new writers' work in 2002. It acts out a love affair between damaged people from cradle to grave, with a strangely successful combination of humour and heartlessness.

Angel is a tall handsome black mature student, while Leigh is a Catholic council worker and single mother of two. Their initial meetings are funny as sexual posturing vies with reluctance to commit. This is greatly enhanced by the fact that Fitch allows her audience to hear her characters inner thoughts. In this way, we learn about the contradictions between speech and meaning in the dangerous waters of love and sex.

Once they hook up, both begin to enjoy themselves but also to learn about each other. Leigh has two children and responsibilities while Angel deals in and takes a weird cocktail of drugs.

Inevitably, Leigh gets drawn into Angel's darker side and soon deserts the children and all too believably spirals out of control with predictable results.

This twenty-first century love story is beautifully realised by the playwright and director Mike Bradwell who is particularly good with this kind of work.

It is graced by fantastic performances from the smouldering Mark Monero who was in the original cast and Fiona Bell. She is exceptional - witty but also very moving, as Leigh develops from lonely mother through happy lover to desperate loser.

This slice of life is well worth a second showing and for the performances alone would be well worth the trip to Shepherds Bush. Even at only 70 minutes, it offers even more with its insights into the good and the bad sides of love and modern living.

Philip Fisher