The 'special relationship' between the US and the UK has been a long and at times volatile one, with both sides sharing political, cultural and diplomatic views. This relationship has never been considered so 'cozy', and sometimes dysfunctional, as it has during the tenures of Blair and Bush. This unique Anglo-American relationship is explored in Caryl Churchill's Drunk Enough To Say I Love You?, which opened last night at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Downstairs. Kathryn Merritt attended the press night.
Churchill's new play concerns the very special relationship between Sam (Ty Burrell) and Jack (Stephen Dillane). Huddled together cosily on a couch, Sam and Jack argue, cajole, flirt, compliment and demand – like any couple in love – but this is no ordinary relationship. Sam and Jack heatedly discuss subjects ranging from Afghanistan, Iraq and Vietnam, to carbon emissions, Star Wars – of the weapons-in-space kind, not the "Luke, I am your father" kind – and free trade.
It becomes apparent during their fragmented discourse that Sam (as in Uncle?) is representative of the 'if you're not with me, you’re against me' attitude that Bush has taken as US President, selfishly demanding "commitment" from Jack (as in Union, perhaps?). And it is Jack's easy capitulation to the arrogance of Sam's demands that hints at the Blair/Bush dynamic.
With James McDonald's production running at just under an hour, and with the plethora of subjects covered, it is left to the audience to decide whether this affair will succeed. One thing is clear, however – Jack and Sam may be in a dysfunctional special relationship, but this is a couple very much in love.
Drunk Enough To Say I Love You? runs at the Royal Court Jerwood Downstairs until 22 December.