In the Net ★★ Jermyn Street Theatre | Jan 12 - Feb 4, 2023

"You may be close, but I've learned that getting close is only getting closer, till you get there." Typical of the dialogue in this show, the sense of that line may be more accessible than the overall meaning of the piece. Set in 2025 the play deals with drought, probably as a result of climate change, and the treatment of refugees fleeing to Britain. It seems to be distressed by the former and sympathetic to the latter. Beyond that it is difficult to determine exactly what is going on. Two half-sisters, calm and controlled Anna (Anya Murphy) who has returned from a Buddhist monastery and feisty Laura (Carlie Diamond) who studied philosophy at university and likes to refer to Hegel construct an Eruv in defiance of the local council. Traditionally, the Eruv is a structure, in this case a net, that allows for activities to take place in the area covered that are not usually permitted on the Jewish Sabbath. Laura explains Eruv means "mixture" and "It mixes home and not-home and sets you free." She elaborates that "Eruv is Everyone" and invites the Councillor to "Come along, do as you please. Bring the family. Take the piss. We don't care. That's the real mixture, us all mixed together." In their endeavour to create the Eruv, the sisters are joined by Hala, a Syrian refugee who is being harassed by immigration authorities and who is ably played by Suzanne Ahmet. At the same time that these three are trying to establish their Eruv, the father of the two half-sisters is selling the family home after the death of their mother. The symbolism of this death and the subsequent sale are, no doubt, related to the construction of the Eruv which is apparently intended to offer personal and political refuge. Whichever the case, although coherent meaning can probably be drawn out of this piece, it is not a simple task, and we doubt we could get there or even get close.

Rated: ★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Steve Gregson.

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