It should be said Jon’s misconduct is professional rather than criminal. The relationship is consensual, though while Izabella Yena’s Annie isn’t sexually naive, her character seems wilfully blank, a tabula rasa of youth that’s disturbing in itself.
She is a cypher, almost, her humanity dimmed by Jon’s self-obsession. You wonder what Jon sees in her. So does he, and the more relentless his internal dialogue, the closer the two-hander gets to becoming a one-hander. I was reminded of that acidic remark in Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch, in which she observed that a lot of men don’t actually have sex, they just masturbate using a vagina.
That may be so, but it doesn’t justify wasting Yena’s talent. Anyone who saw her in Kerosene a few months ago – working a teenaged character into a vengeful fury over serious sexual misconduct – will know how massively this role shortchanges her.
Perhaps it might have worked better in a short story, but in theatre, a female character’s voice and perspective are inhabited by a real woman. A play that deliberately evades dramatising them at best squanders female talent, at worst risks replicating, rather than fighting against, the very misogyny it aims to critique.