by Jez Butterworth
Two couples live side by side in identical houses. On the outside Ned is a confident demolitions expert: on the inside he's a mess. He is the victim of increasingly bizarre but recurrent theft, and his marriage to Joy is running out of steam. He also suffers a recurring nightmare. Eventually he is usurped by his neighbour, and Joy deserts him - literally and metaphorically. His nightmare? He is encased in a room just like the one he lives in - Laugh-out-loud funny to start with, Jez Butterworth's new play, "Parlour Song", gets darker and more surreal as it unfolds. For fans of "Mojo" or "The Winterling", this is vintage Butterworth: a compound of comedy and menace, not unlike his mentor, Harold Pinter (who played the gangster boss in the film of "Mojo").The UK premiere is at the Almeida Theatre, Islington, in February 2009, directed by Ian Rickson, who has staged all Butterworth's plays so far. It has also been seen in New York.