Strikingly moving and spooky, James Phillips’s first play is an exploration into the lives of a couple doomed to die.
Despite the name change, there is no doubt that The Rubenstein Kiss is a play about Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were sent to the electric chair for passing atomic secrets to the Russians during the Cold War.
The play is skillfully framed by a parallel story centered around a young couple in the 1970s, who meet each other in an art gallery while admiring the famous photo of the Rosenbergs kissing.
As the play progresses, the two stories become fascinatingly intertwined. The text is thorough and very intelligent, but also demanding both for viewers and actors. Immaculate acting from the cast really makes the show special, with particular credit to Joe Coen (Jakob Rubenstein) and Katherine Manners (Esther Rubenstein) for their heartbreaking final meetings.
The agony of doing right by your beliefs in every situation is a key message. As Jakob puts it: “Our ideas are more important than our lives.”
The Rubenstein Kiss is at Nottingham Playhouse until October 17 as part of the theatre’s Conspiracy Season.
For ticket details, call the box office on 0115 9419419.