Electric performances and exceptionally clever writing; Danny and the Deep Blue Sea explores the lengths people will go for the sake of love and companionship.
Danny and the Deep Blue Sea follows the conventions of your typical “guy and a girl meet in a bar and share a drunken but passionate night together” scenario – but with a twist. The “guy” and “girl” both come with an extraordinary amount of baggage; past events that they are so deeply scarred by that it’s almost impossible for them to function in society. Roberta and Danny see in each other’s hearts that same shame and pain that governs their own existences. In each other’s arms, they find a place they finally might be able to call home.
As Roberta and Danny, Megan Lloyd-Jones and Gareth O’Connor’s passion and commitment stand out immediately. They completely commit to the story with every line and movement, and their confidence in each other’s arms (as they alternated between lust and violence) is remarkable. It feels dangerous to watch. But with the small flourishes of well timed and perfectly executed choreography – scattered through out the piece – we’re reminded that these actors are completely in control.
Let it be said that Gareth O’Connor is an incredible character actor. He affected, with near perfect execution, a New York accent (having been originally from Dublin) and his, combined with the slovenly way he leant over his pint of beer and his capacity for uncontrollable fits of rage, cast my mind back to Gandolfini’s Tony Soprano. The similarities gave me a personal feeling of nostalgia and accelerated my capacity to accept this character as an existing entity. But despite O’Connor’s authenticity in characterisation, I never got the impression he was a ‘hard man’ in essence. In the quieter moments, I believed it. He was almost like a sweet young boy trapped in side of the body of a brute. But that was were the problem lay. When it came to demonstrating the brutish side of Danny, his energy felt capped like the actor was somehow resisting the full explosion.
Megan Lloyd-Jones’s portrayal of the character Roberta was at once both charming and unnerving. Roberta, similar to Danny in many ways, was a 19 year old girl trapped inside of the body of a 31 year old woman. A girl who was screaming and crying behind those big bright eyes. So complete was Lloyd-Jones’s characterisation that it never felt like an actor affecting an emotion. It was more like just watching a person existing (in the best possible way).
I was thoroughly impressed by Courtney Larkin’s sensitive and skilful hand in the direction. Lloyd-Jones and O’Connor are fierce actors who bring intelligence and passion to their parts. Larkin, like a conductor, guides them through this challenging text without any bum notes. Danny and the Deep Blue Sea is 100% deserving of all the high praise that has come its way since the debut and I hope it enjoys many successes in the future.