The play by Kieron Barry is in theatres until 2 July
BY KRYSTA MCKENZIE, IMAGE BY BEN EALOVEGA
Spy For Spy is an innovative portrayal of a modern relationship between two women, Molly and Sara, played by Olive Gray (they/them) and Amy Lennox (she/her) respectively. The play was written by Kieron Barry and is presented by Feather Productions in association with TeamAkers Productions (the latter set up by DIVA favourite Suranne Jones alongside Laurence Akers).
On 20 June, I was lucky enough to bear witness to Spy For Spy and the performance was everything I needed and more.
At the beginning of every show, random members of the audience select the order of the play, making each performance utterly unique. This is a drama performed like a playlist on shuffle, and yet each scene flows beautifully, making a perfectly fragmented piece of art — much like a mosaic.
Now, let’s set the scene… the order of the play has been selected, and not long after, you file into theatre at Riverside Studios. There’s music playing, excited chatter, and the diverse audience around you is bubbling with anticipation. In front of you is a gorgeous pastel set, and you get the really strong feeling that you’re about to experience something amazing. Then the music fades out, the lights go out and silence falls. It’s time…
For 90 minutes you are completely immersed in a life that is not your own, but somehow feels familiar. Olive and Amy shine in their roles, both embodying their characters in a seemingly effortless way. You laugh and you cry and you gasp, and the experiences of Molly and Sara are transferred to you. You, dancing with your lover. You, meeting someone for the first time and knowing that they will be an important part of your life. You, reconnecting with an old friend. You, falling apart. It is all yours.
By the end of the play, all you can really do is revel in its fragmented perfection.
Kieron Barry shared his thoughts behind organising — or rather, disorganising — the play in this way:
“I was intrigued by the disparity between how we experience events and how we remember them. In contrast to our society’s endless promoting of the now, I have often found the present moment to be insubstantial compared to the reckless zeal of the past, which seems forever vivid and urgent as it crowds about us. Of course, here and there a huge event comes along and one suddenly feels alive and present again, yet the fate of such a moment is to become just another memory and so it continues. I wanted to write a play which would recreate the zigzagging, chaotic sensations of recollection, and in particular the act of summoning memory to examine the sharpest question of all: were we loved?”
It is safe to say that Spy For Spy spills over with feeling: euphoria and pain, intimacy and loneliness, and right at the core of it, love in all its forms.
Get tickets to your own one-of-a-kind experience at riversidestudios.co.uk/see-and-do/spy-for-spy. The show closes on Sunday 2 July, so make sure to see it while you can!
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