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How We Begin- play review

★★★★


If you're searching for some beautiful and authentic bisexual representation in theatre, there is no doubt that How We Begin is a piece for you. From the start, audiences are drawn to the characters in this two-hander, invested in their navigation of the complexities of their relationship with one another, and the rest of the world around them.


Helen (played by Talia Pick) and Diana (Emma Lucia) have been best friends for as long as they could remember: or before they had figured out the nuances of their identities at least. Struggling to decipher the correct pathway to taking it to the next level- particularly since Diana actually has a boyfriend now- their exploration of sexuality begins with the longer hugs and secret kisses; feeling things not found with anyone else.


With quick conversation batting back and forth between the pair, we rapidly start rooting for their happiness, and can only hope it lasts. The stark surroundings of the storytelling (only a rug and some cushions to aid), rely on the physicality, and depth of the words that describe each event. From family gatherings, to seeing friends, and even spending the night under the same roof as the boyfriend in question, as they drift in and out of yearning for each other.


That process of understanding ourselves is all too relatable, and woven amongst the love were some quick witted lines of hilarity that were seemingly perfectly placed. Elisabeth Lewerenz's writing brought us into the lives of the couple as they divulge their tenderest moments, while Elizabeth Benbow's direction shows just how much can come from listening to what's said, and the way they hold onto their whirlwind of hidden intimacy. Lighting by Han Sales drifts us through the various times spent together and adds to the subtle beauty of the piece.


Although perpetuating the idea of a cheating relationship may not seem like the kind of scenes providing a positive image of bisexuality, this show skilfully defers this concept, bringing an honest shift in focus towards the reality of the situation, having a sensitive response to discovering queerness in its purest of forms.


In all, How We Begin if a bittersweet reflection of the gentle connectedness that can be found when we follow our hearts, even though it may be messy at times.



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