by David Lane.
The Hope Theatre, 207 Upper Street, Islington, London N1 1RL to 29 April 2017.
Runs 75 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 0333 666 3366.
Review: William Russell 15 April.
Invisible ties that bind enthrallingly
Playwright David Lane certainly manages to screw up the tension in this odd and engrossing encounter between Charlie and his ex partner Vic in a dingy seafront flat in Brighton in which he lives in some squalor, and where they lived together until she left some years before. Charlie seems to be suffering from delusions, to have withdrawn from the world and lives an isolated, scruffy existence doing some kind of on line work. Vic, on the other hand, is svelte, poised and every inch a career woman. Clearly she has moved on, while he has stayed still or even relapsed deeper into strangeness. She has come to see him at his request, although why she has accepted is never quite clear. Once there somehow or other she finds it impossible to get out of the flat – is it simply he has fixed the locks or are they trapped in some sort of limbo? Why is he claiming not to eat, to be dead, to lack sensation?
The ensuing battle of wits, of memories, arguments about past mistakes and present ones, takes surprising turns and ends very messily indeed. There is no faulting playing or direction. Katherine Davenport charts Vic’s decline from poised assurance to terror and sudden, drastic action skilfully, and is matched by Samuel Lawrence’s potentially dangerous, yet actually weak Charlie.
In thriller terms the play does bring one to the edge of one’s seat. Whether it looks at the threads that bind relationships from which nobody can ever quite escape is another matter.
Vic: Katherine Davenport.
Charlie: Samuel Lawrence.
Director: Pamela Schermann.
Set & Costume Designer: Jo Jones.
Lighting Designer: Rachel Sampley.
Sound Designer: James Scriven.
Stage Manager: Becky Brown.