Fifteen Minutes With You has completed a run at The King’s Arms for this year’s Not Part Of Festival. Written by acclaimed Salford Studio playwright Cathy Crabb, the play subverts the recognisable routine of a one night stand and portrays the inevitable power struggle in every relationship.
Jane and Matthew meet after a night out and at first their encounter keeps to the rules of a harmless fling; Jane is the pretty (if slightly defensive) girl out with friends and Matthew is the smooth talking sales executive who invites her back to his flat. As the dialogue progresses it becomes clear that Jane and Matthew are far less two dimensional than their outwards appearances would imply. Taking turns to quiz each other about pet hates, previous relationships and bad habits, both characters emerge as bitter, damaged and vulgar but far more human than before.
Crabb’s previous work (such as the MEN award winning Moving Pictures) has proved her skill in capturing the complexities of human bonds and both actors deftly handle the shifts in tone and manic exchanges that give the pair’s relationship an unsettling edge. On questioning how Matthew is able to afford his rent, Jane dismisses his non-committal answer by launching into a self righteous tirade: ‘Things are either free or they’re not. There are no half measures’.
Indeed Fifteen Minutes with You seems to revolve around this kind of black and white opposition, with the two characters precariously swapping sides as quickly as they exchange positions on the sofa. Power in this play is fickle; at one moment Jane coyly insists on calling for a taxi to take her home, the next she predatorily backs Matthew into a corner and demands that he sleeps with her. Once the audience become synced into this rhythm, a momentum builds that pushes Jane and Matthew closer together in their inability to find stable ground. They end up spending the night together but not in the way anyone could have imagined.