NIck Payne adapts his play Wanderlust for TV, with a great lead performance from Toni Collette and stunning work from Sophie Okonedo
“I thought old people were supposed to go off sex”
It being more than 10 years since I saw Nick Payne’s play Wanderlust at the Royal Court, I’d be hard pressed to tell you much about how it differed from this TV adaptation which aired back in 2018 but essentially, Payne circles around notions of sex and intimacy and the different roles they can play in different relationships. At the heart of the tale here are Joy and Alan, long married but sexually stale and thus we follow their decision to open out their marriage, with all the attendant difficulties that presents to their tightly-wound emotional states.
We also see the ripple effects on their teenage children, each finding their own way through love and sex and life and friendship, and we also see a lot of Joy’s therapy clients, the significance of which comes heavily to bear late on. Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh are great value for money as Joy and Alan, Paul Kaye and Zawe Ashton also entertain as their new sex partners, and Kate O’Flynn and Anastasia Hille both thrill in supporting parts. The whole damn thing is worth it though for the simply spectacular Episode 5 in which locks Collette’s Joy and Sophie Okonedo as her own therapist in a room and keeps them there, to just stunning effect.