Frankie and Johnny

Eye Theatre

> Eye Theatre

This bedroom romp set in a New York apartment in the 1980s is, with its liberal use of strong language, not for prudish audiences.

But it is to be commended for the high level of acting by a duo new to Eye and for its many poignant moments.

Written by Terrence McNally, the play is directed by Steve Harris – his second production at Eye.

Frankie and Johnny are a waitress and chef in the same restaurant; Frankie admits that she was attracted to Johnny while admiring his skills at slicing vegetables, while he was not oblivious to her sexual charms.

The play opens with the couple in bed, but while Frankie considers the episode as nothing more than a one-night stand, Johnny fancies himself in love.

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Both discover they have many things in common, including an unhappy childhood and difficult previous relationships.

As the play progresses, they alternate between moments of passion and fierce arguments as the action moves from bedroom to kitchen.

Neil Sheffield succeeds in bringing out the hidden depths in the role of Johnny who is desperately seeking a soulmate after the trauma of his wife leaving him for another man and taking his children.

Beneath the erotic overtones, he is essentially romantic, forever quoting Shakespeare and revelling in the haunting music of Clair de lune on a late-night radio programme.

He was well matched by Louise Jackson as Frankie who was afraid of commitment after being brutally treated by her former lover and the fact that she cannot bear children.

Both actors sustained the Brooklyn accent well.

t The play ends on Saturday May 14.

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