Powerful monologue with a stunning central performance
This article is from 2012.
Save for a single hanging strip-light, the studio space at the Traverse is so utterly bare that you begin to suspect the audience has been the victim of a cruel practical joke. But then actor Iain Robertson appears and strikes up the opening passages of Ronan O'Donnell’s monologue and you realise that to adorn such an evocative piece with mere visual aids would be nonsensical.
Robertson is mesmerising as Nick Prentice, arrested on suspicion of murder and damned in the eyes of the investigating detective by the ‘incriminating’ evidence of some pornographic fan fiction involving Nick and Scarlett Johansson, unearthed during a search of his flat. Beneath Nick’s vivid recreation of the events leading up to the disturbing cat-and-mouse game in the prison cell, O’Donnell makes perceptive points about alienation and the life of the mind, all in an astonishing register, whose earthy naturalism belies some striking poetry.
While shot through with dark humour, the pace of O’Donnell’s drama is pretty relentless, to the point where you long for even the briefest of pauses to come up for air. But it’s hard not to be impressed by Robertson’s range and facility with his material, which confirms him as a stage actor of real power.
Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 26 Aug, times vary, £17--£19 (£12--£14).