Last of the NYT "Soho Six-Pack" season and Sarah Solemani takes ideas of gender as the theme for her double-bill. Eye is about femininity and jumps backwards and forwards in time between Diana (Carly-Jane Hutchinson) applying to a Dublin art school and getting into a weird relationship with one of the tutors and the two women he already shares a house with; and a year or so later when Mr Brown from the Salvation Army (Daniel Ward) is trying to find Diana, who it turns out disapppeared before taking her place on the course. So it's set up as a mystery and although what happened does, in a roundabout way, become apparent by the end, structurally the play's not very satisfying (although to be fair some of the storyline carries on into the second play) with a somewhat random interlude where an art student rants at the Sally Army man. As far as gender politics goes, perhaps the cleverest moment is the creepy tutor, Ted (Thomas Briggs,) spouting forth on feminist theory while a female lecturer who's accidentally spilled wine on him is on her knees trying to clean his shirt.
Balls is the more successful of the two, this time following a group of men who all work in a call centre owned by Bruce (Ciarán Owens.) The gormless Simon (Joel MacCormack) is getting married, and Bruce can't hide his anger that he's chosen Terry (Adam Price) as his best man instead of him. The stag weekend takes them to a Dublin strip club, which is where Diana returns, and all three men have reasons why the reunion might not be much fun for them, and we get strong hints as to why she might have wanted to vanish in the first place. There's plenty of comic relief though, as bride-to-be Tess (Lauren O'Rourke) follows so she can spy on them and make sure nothing bad happens to Simon. O'Rourke takes the comedy honours with her stroppy, determined Tess.
If I had to recommend just one of the shows I'd probably go for Tits/Teeth as they're perhaps the most satisfying dramatically, although Eye/Balls does a better job of showcasing the young actors and everybody in the cast gets a moment to shine.
Eye/Balls by Sarah Solemani is booking until the 8th of September at the Soho Theatre.