Looking back, looking on

IZ ****


YOU COULD say that it moves across familiar territory, this latest show from the writer-director team of Oliver Emanuel and Daniel Bye, also known as Silver Tongue Theatre. There are three thirtysomething guys in suits, bound together by a relationship formed in their youth; they endlessly revisit that time in memory, while life moves on, and confronts them with the reality of loss. The twist is that they are linked not by conventional friendship, but by their love for the same woman, Iz. Now Iz is dead; and their memories, their ways of grieving, tell us something both contemporary and timeless about the way men love women, or learn how to stop loving, and move on.

Emanuel’s script is a little hard-edged gem of linked-monologue writing, intercut with moments of direct dialogue and confrontation; it’s fast without being glib, intense without being overpitched, and given its full weight by Dan Bye’s clever production, which keeps each man in his own lonely space, his own magnetic field, even at their most intense moments of interaction.

Grae Cleugh, James Gitsham and Andrew Patfield deliver three pitch-perfect, beautifully paced performances. And what they give us, in the end, is a powerful meditation on how much we really know or remember anyone; and one of those rare shows that achieves a real sense of polish and assurance, without sacrificing either detail or depth.