Doors are battered, blood is spattered, a person is lifted, apparently lifeless, from a bath.

The swift hour and 40 minutes of Belleville, Amy Herzog’s play, first seen in the States in 2011, is directed with clever claustrophobia by Michael Longhurst, aided by a finely detailed Paris apartment design by Tom Scutt and a shiveringly reverberating soundscape by Ben and Max Ringham.
The intense acting of James Norton and Imogen Poots is seen so close up in the compressed space of the Donmar that each drop of blood or corrugation of a forehead, every wincing away from confrontation, looks seismic. But this drama about a young couple fighting their way through and perhaps out of a marriage is more full of violent twists than psychological surprises. As soon as you see a billing-and-cooing couple on the stage, you know all hell is likely to break loose. It does. It looks calculated. It is hard to care.

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