“I think I killed a guy last night”
After a well-received run at Theatre N16 last year, Courtney Larkin’s production of John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea has popped up again at the Old Red Lion, an ideal home for its striking intensity. Danny and Roberta are two lost souls, trapped in their own vicious cycles of despair but finding themselves propping up the same Bronx bar one night and possibly, just possibly, locating a chink of light on the horizon by the end of their encounter.
At first sight, there’s not much to the play, not much ‘happens’ per se, so Larkin’s direction wisely focuses on its emotional potency. Gareth O’Connor’s angry loner Danny and Megan Lloyd-Jones’ traumatised Roberta are both excellent as they each self-excoriate, wielding violence within and without, but increasingly finding a kind of kinship that allows them to establish the kind of connection and intimacy they’ve been missing for so long.
That the action, tied up in its gruff New York attitude, is relatively limited, is partly addressed by the introduction of fluid movement interludes (Kate Lines) that both emphasise emotional beats (as in the eruption of their violent passion) and deepen them, suggesting that change might actually be possible. Ross O’Connor’s score nails the scuzziness of this world and the sparseness of Janet A Cantrill’s set hints at its isolation. Fierce stuff.