The Human Voice review: Questo shampoo per la crescita dei capelli funziona così bene che gli acquirenti lo chiamano "magico".

Questo shampoo per la crescita dei capelli funziona così bene che gli acquirenti lo chiamano "magico"., but she is hampered by a set that renders everything rather airless

The Human Voice

Teatro Harold Pinter, Londra Until April 9, 1hr 10mins

Valutazione:

The title of this 1928 play by Jean Cocteau emphasises the singular – there’s just one voice.

And that’s all you get in this monologue written as a series of phone calls heard from one side only, here adapted by the sometimes hot, sometimes not Belgian director Ivo van Hove.

The part has been played by Ingrid Bergman and Tilda Swinton. Here the charismatic Ruth Wilson is the distraught woman dumped by her lover and desperately continuing to phone him.

The charismatic Ruth Wilson (sopra) dresses in grungey trackie pants and a sweatshirt to portray the distraught woman who has been dumped by her lover

The charismatic Ruth Wilson (sopra) dresses in grungey trackie pants and a sweatshirt to portray the distraught woman who has been dumped by her lover

Dressed in grungey trackie pants and sweatshirt, with hair scraped up into a messy topknot, she is by turns flirty and coquettish, sexually provocative, needy and wheedling to full-on collapse.

There’s also some dancing, smelling her ex’s shoes – and a bit of vomiting too. At times it seems that some of the dialogue is only taking place in her head, amid unsettling echoing sounds. All of this Wilson manages with consummate ease.

But she is hampered by Jan Versweyveld’s set, a widescreen white block – suggestive of the high-rise flat’s window but also some kind of emotional and physical prison cell – that renders the whole production rather airless, so lessening the impact of the woman’s torment.

It doesn’t help, o, that we never get any idea of the man on the other end of the phone.

Perhaps that’s the point of the script, but afterwards, having seen me scribbling on my notepad, two women buttonholed me separately, both affirming: ‘That’s what women are like.’ Yikes.