Kiss Me is the new Richard Bean play having its premiere season at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs. If an unknown writer had penned this script, it would not be produced. It is dreary, unforgivably so. Anna Ledwich’s production is very pleased with itself, but incapable of pleasing.
Sometimes, in the first two minutes of a production of a play, the measure of the work, and the production, is clear. Such is the case with Kiss Me.
Everthing about it, almost, was enervating.
What wasn’t? Ben Lloyd-Hughes. He gives a measured, considered and entirely period performance in this curious post-World War One fantasy, where his character is an active sperm donor for 700 or so female patients of the resourceful Doctor Trollop. (He shows real promise – as an actor- and should be looked out for in future productions.)
Plot? Widow meets kind Sperm Donor and they break Dr Trollop’s cardinal rule: no kissing. Hence the title.
It is billed as an unorthodox love story and a comedy – but there was little laughter the night I saw the production. And less of a sense of romance.
It is mercifully short – 70 minutes – although each minute seems to last ten or twenty. Or thirty…
Otherwise, there is nothing worth discussing about Anna Ledwich’s fussy but colourless production. Kiss Me is not worth the energy involved in reflecting upon it.