For those unaware of this London production of Tracey Letts’ Bug then you are missing out on a hot ticket. This play about paranoia in the Deep South is in the emerging Found111 space on Charing Cross Road. The venue’s claustrophobia perfect for a play about two people lost in their own tiny world.
Kate Fleetwood stars as Agnes, a motel room dwelling middle aged woman who has lost her son (not due to death but due to kidnapping), has an abusive husband in Jerry (Alec Newman) and it seems has lost all sense of purpose, when her friend RC (played by an unrecognisable Daisy Lewis) bring over some cocaine and a handsome yet odd man called Peter Evans (James Norton). Peter and Agnes collide and she gets drawn into Peter’s paranoia, beginning to link the bugs that plague them to all aspects of her life.
In this tiny space this production about paranoia and despair sounds incredibly grim but Fleetwood is mesmerising as Agnes and Letts’ humour makes you warm to characters, who you would definitely avoid in the street. James Norton confidently moves away from his pretty, posh boy label here as the unhinged but kind Peter but the highlights come from the support; Newman as the violent husband whose concern about his wife and the bugs is never revealed to be genuine or not and Daisy Lewis as RC, whose concern is genuine and ignored by Agnes in her desperation for love from Peter.
Simon Evans’ production is one of London’s gems right now. It is strong, confident and very atmospheric. It seems very aware that it should probably be a screenplay (Letts’ adapted it into a film in 2006) but keeps set changes to a minimum, using the interval in this short play (1hr 50 with interval) to good use.