by Julia Pascal.
New Diorama Theatre 15-16 Triton Street Regent’s Place NW1 3BF To 30 October 2011.
Wed-Sun 7.45pm Mat Sun 3.30pm.
Runs 2hr 10min One interval.
TICKETS: 020 7383 9034.
Review: William Russell 14 October.
Some skilled direction can’t make this believable.
This intriguing well-acted two-hander, directed effectively by Orly Rabinyan, and which looks at what turns people into assassins, has a strong first act, but a more problematical second act.
Susanne, a 35 year old Swede with a husband and small daughter, discovers on her father’s death that he was a Jew, a fugitive from Nazi Germany. Distraught, she abandons husband and child and heads for Israel to volunteer to be a Mossad agent, ending up charged with seducing and killing one of the Palestinians who organised the murder of the Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic Games.
So far so good. The first act when Susanne, well played by Jessica Claire, tussles with Koby, the Mossad boss, Paul Herzberg, is fascinating although she really is so mixed up one cannot see why the eminently sensible Koby should not just show her the door.
The real problems with Julia Pascal’s play, however, start in act two. Susanne, now Mia, is quite frankly round the twist, the sort of woman any sane man would both cross the street and go in the opposite direction to avoid, so why the Palestinian – Herzberg in fine form establishing that his people too have suffered – falls for her is inexplicable.
The seduction scene when they meet is toe-curling in its banality, as are the conversations she has with her small daughter. Another problem is Ms Claire’s Swedish accent – Garbo might sound seductive, but she quacks.
Rabinyan keeps it all moving swiftly and uses sounds brilliantly to establish time and place.
Susanne/Mia: Jessica Claire.
Director: Orly Rabinyan.
Designer: Claire Lyth.
Lighting: Jessica Faulks.
Sound: Daniel Hunt.