Skin Tight at The Hope Theatre

Photo credit: Greg Veit. Adam Slynn and Louise Hoare pictured.

From the opening moments Skin Tight bursts with passion and energy. The physicality of the opening sequence seduces and intrigues, creating a disarming sense of disorientation when the actors finally speak. Adam Slynn and Louise Hoare give masterful performances as Tom and Elizabeth. They are playful, ferocious, agile and compelling as needed, as they take us on a journey into the love story and marriage of our two protagonists. Traversing war, parenthood, old age and sickness, there is a purity to their performances that breathes full and complex life into the characters of Tom and Elizabeth.

Directed by Max Kirk, the choreography of the piece is exquisite, sympathetically weaving through the piece in an organic and full blooded way. Kirk brings out the roar of love within Skin Tight, taking full advantage of his pitch perfect cast to create a truly visceral experience. The set, lighting and sound design intertwine, working beautifully together to further amplify the fast beating heart of this show.

Written by celebrated NZ playwright Gary Henderson in the late 90s, Skin Tight is a love story between two characters, that is grounded in a profound love for home and place. Aotearoa New Zealand is the third character in the piece, and there are evocative descriptions of the farm Tom and Elizabeth feel such a sense of belonging to. At under an hour, Skin Tight left me craving more. I had questions, about Elizabeth’s relationship with her daughter and Tom’s struggles with his own family. But the more I think back on the play, the more I realise those things don’t matter. Henderson has focused with admirable self-restraint on the elements of the story that matter, those that illuminate the love and passion Tom and Elizabeth have shared over a life-time.

Skin Tight made me cry big fat glorious tears. There is a brutal and relatable honesty to the piece, as it unflinchingly shows us how diminishing and aging bodies still house vibrant and passionate souls.

There is still time to catch Skin Tight as it runs at the Hope Theatre until Sat 6th November. To find out more or book tickets, you can go here:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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