by Mark O’Rowe.
Young Vic Theatre (The Maria) 66 The Cut SE1 8LZ To 16 April 2011.
Mon-Sat 7.45pm Mat Wed & Sat 2.45
Runs 1hr 45min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7922 2922.
Review: Carole Woddis 4 April.
Tough and linguistically adventurous, in ideal production.
If you’re a connoisseur of language, I can’t think of a better play than Mark O’Rowe’s Terminus. In fact I can’t think of any play that matches it for linguistic gymnastics. The play is part nightmare, part fantastical gore splatter-fest and part love-poem. It’s already being acknowledged as a modern classic and I can see why. It makes demands on audience and performers that will test directors and actors for years to come in terms of interpretation
This Abbey Theatre production, directed by its author in purgatorial, stygian gloom, has been around since 2007 and is now on international tour. O’Rowe whose Howie the Rookie (1999) announced the arrival of a spectacular new voice alongside the dark brood of Dennis Kelly, Anthony Neilson and Martin McDonagh goes even darker, deeper and higher with Terminus.
Written in prose but delivered extraordinarily by Olwen Fouéré (mighty), Catherine Walker (shimmering) and Declan Conlon (quietly terrifying) as if in rhyming verse, O’Rowe must have been high as a kite when he imagined Terminus into being.
Its content offends on all kinds of levels but its magnificence – and I use the word advisedly – is irresistible as O’Rowe spirals off into supernatural matings, fisticuffs and throat slittings.
Fouéré’s character is a Samaritan in search of a daughter, Walker’s the daughter who left home when her mother took her would-be fiancée to bed and who in the split second before hurtling off a crane to her death finds a throbbing, eternal lover in the arms of a tormented worm-infested wandering soul, sold to the Devil in a Faustian pact by Conlon’s terminally shy serial killer. Who just wanted to be granted a voice and sing Bette Midler’s `Wind Beneath My wings’ with gusto.
O’Rowe, you see, is having a laff, on us, but if you are to be taken for a ride, it couldn’t be in more seductive company than this writer, and this Abbey Theatre crew. Lurid, gratuitous in its violence, cavalier in sentiment, there’s an unmistakeable masturbatory glory to O’Rowe’s tale but also a soft-centred daisy-chain symmetry. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.
A: Olwen Fouéré.
B: Catherine Walker.
C: Declan Conlon.
Director: Mark O’Rowe.
Dedsigner/Costume: Jon Bausor.
Lighting: Philip Gladwell.
Sound: Philip Stewart.
Terminus premiered at the Abbey Theatre in June 2007. It also toured in 2008 and 2009. This production opened at in The Maria theatre at the Young Vic on 30 March 2011.