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I Think We Are Alone review – Frantic Assembly's tender sweep of connection | Stage

I Think We Are Alone marks the 25th anniversary of physical theatre company Frantic Assembly. In their grand old age they tout the lesson of togetherness, as a haphazard group of lonely Londoners search for connection in Sally Abbott’s bittersweet play, which roots for kindness and conversation.

A cab driver, a hospice worker and a student hit the ground running with heart-baring monologues; they can’t find the right words to talk to each other so they spill to us instead. Certain relationships shine: two sisters overcoming trauma together, a mother and son figuring out how to give each other space, a one-night stand that slaps a laughing room into silence.

Directed by Kathy Burke and Scott Graham, the six characters delicately scoot around each other, flowing on Morgan Large’s metallic set. They push heavy Perspex boxes, creating ghostly silhouettes and fuzzy shadows. Between chunks of dialogue the boxes crowd, divide and anchor them, almost like commas in a script. A translucent background lights up and the boxes glow with neon bars and electric fizzles.

In one scene, cabbie Graham (Andrew Turner) holds on as a box is tilted diagonally, so that his feet sweep off the ground and he floats in mid-air. It’s one of the few moments where you remember that Frantic Assembly are among the most influential British companies for movement. In much of the play, the use of the body is somewhat muted, with the boxes almost doing more physical work than the people.

The play stumbles in its overly ambitious attempt to tackle all of society’s problems at once, and the generic complaints about technology sound a bit stuck in 2010, but it has a great respect for the ordinary and is kind-hearted to its core. It deals with death gently and as the characters’ lives gradually begin to intersect, they help get rid of each other’s ghosts and demons. A tender sweep of a show, I Think We Are Alone swells with the simple, difficult, important desire for connection.

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