Hampstead Theatre is currently presenting the UK premiere of Naomi Wallace's play The Breach- a complex narrative of sibling love and twisted consent for confused actions. Set alternately in 1977 and 1991 Kentucky, USA, the Diggs siblings will do anything for each other. Young Jude (Shannon Tarbet) becomes apprehensive of her little brother Acton (Stanley Morgan) bringing two friends to their basement to form their club- Charlie Beck and Alfie Jones as Frayne and Hoke respectively. When their friendship begins to turn toxic following the introduction of a game designed to encourage each other to 'Top Their Love', it seems as if difficult decisions leave a lot at stake.
Interjected with future depictions of themselves (Jasmine Blackborow as Jude; Tom Lewis as Hoke and Douggie McMeekin as Frayne), the drama unravels, particularly during the second act, as the true events of a night that changed their lives comes to light. After the death of her beloved brother, Jude finds herself reunited with his friends, who each reveal additional details from their stirring experience, and how they have coped with the aftermath since. Discussing the effects of sexual assault, and the conditions in which the act occurs, proves for an intriguing storyline. However, the intentional lack of expression and emotion at times appears a bit weak, and without the gripping drama that the piece could otherwise possess.
The Breach has a very minimal set design, with the use of very few props too. This means that there is more weight on the words of the characters, as their dialogue and interactions alone must provide the entire image. The concept is interesting and definitely has potential, though the overall execution in this case was not as engaging as hoped.
Reminiscing about the death of their father in a lighthearted way shows the bond between the siblings and their upbringing, while generating a contrast to the typical behaviours they display as teenagers, and subsequent mature themes and blurred lines deciphered as they grow older that tie the plot together. Jude and Acton's love, and trust is something the audience must establish for themselves, leaving questions on morals that linger beyond the play itself.