Taut thriller keeps you guessing
An Out of Joint, Bush Theatre and Northcott Theatre co-production, Northcott Theatre, Exeter
NOTHING is what it seems was the central thrust of this production. We are in the murky world of Spooks... a world of spies, secrets and subterfuge where what you see may not be what you think it is.
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A woman is found dead under suspicious circumstances and her wayward sister sets out to find out what really happened. Do we get to know by the end? I'm not sure.
The sister worked for British intelligence, a spy, but she was also a double agent working for the Russian government. So confusion is the name of the game. Even when you leave the theatre, the twists and turns of the plot keep you thinking
A terrific company of four actors bring this original work, by Dawn King, alive. They each play two characters on a stage where screens float across to hide and reveal. The settings of offices, restaurant, garden, bedroom, youth centre and art studio are captured with minimum furniture in an atmosphere where claustrophobia and suspicion hang over all.
We even have scenes spoken in Russian with the English translation projected on to front screens
Under the tight, almost clinical direction of Blanche McIntyre the four actors — Shereen Martin, Grainne Keenan, Ronny Jhutti and Bruce Alexander — weave a story that is both intriguing and baffling.
One change I would make is to drop the interval. The break was an unnecessary interruption. Twenty-six short scenes in an 80-minute play — we, the audience, could have stayed seated.
It is good to see the Northcott Theatre housing the premier a very modern thriller, which now sets out on a national tour.