Inspired by the imagination and meter of language in Shakespeare’s canon, Broken by Matthew Lyon is both a love letter to the Bard’s work, as well a celebration of the modern vernacular.
Directed by Dominique Gerrard, Broken follows ‘Girl’ (Lauren Mills) and ‘Boy’ (Matthew Lyon) as they become a couple, and traces the highs and lows of their relationship. There’s nothing coy about their ‘courtship’ and their ‘first time’ is extremely funny – a ‘volleying’ back and forth of words and ‘hips’…
Both characters are well developed – she’s the more ballsy of the two but as their relationship progresses, is unable to ‘read’ him. Conversely he’s never been sure of the durability of what they have – yet he can’t express what’s really bothering him, seeking succour in drinking.
For those among you who aren’t enamoured by Shakespeare-esque verse, it doesn’t matter, as the relationship between the man and woman on stage is recognisable and timeless, not beholden to iambic pentameter. But for those of you who are well-versed in the Bard’s canon, there’s plenty of allusions to his work that one can appreciate without thinking this is heavy-handed, tiresome or derivative. At times I did catch myself thinking about certain ‘eloquent’ but modern phrases, “How would Shakespeare have expressed this?”… only for me to conclude that he probably wouldn’t have changed a thing. Pretty much everything that’s spoken in Broken is quotable.
Fingers crossed, there will be an upsurge of interest over the next couple of days, but I also hope to see it run again in the near future. It really does have something for everyone.
© Michael Davis 2017
Broken runs at the Space Arts Cente until 25th February 2017.