Carey Mulligan Triumphs In One-Woman Show

Girls and Boys, Royal Court Theatre ★★★★☆

By Sam Smith Last edited 8 months ago
Carey Mulligan Triumphs In One-Woman Show Girls and Boys, Royal Court Theatre 4
Photo: Marc Brenner

We know her from Drive, The Great Gatsby and Suffragette, but can Carey Mulligan hold a live audience for ninety minutes with virtually no visual support?

The answer is a resounding yes as her easy charm combines with a sense of unflinching honesty in this comedy... or semi-comedy... or, well, not really a comedy at all.

Dennis Kelly’s new one-woman show Girls and Boys may start out like a light-hearted exploration of an individual’s life, as she recalls ending her ‘drinky, druggy, slaggy phase’ and having a career and family. It rises to another level, however, by relating her personal experiences to the state of the world and becoming progressively darker.

The beginning elicits big laughs, but Kelly does not always top off one joke with another, and even Mulligan is affected by having to deliver the gags as a character rather than entirely naturally. Halfway through, however, comes the first ‘reveal’ which leads to the piece becoming increasingly emotional and, by the end, totally heart-breaking. In fact, this play has the unique quality of getting better and better the less funny it becomes.

Girls and Boys, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS, £12-25, until 10 March



Last Updated 17 February 2018