- Lorna Irvine
- 5 August 2018
David Leddy's powerful play changes gender
In David Leddy's striking meditation on power and abuses of power, Irene Allan takes on the role of Chris. It's fascinating to see as a standalone piece, and works just as well as the first version starring Leddy himself. Where Leddy's portrayal was inscrutable, Allan conjures Chris as sweet and twinkly-eyed, making her descent into psychopathy the more jarring.
She's a feral creature, once stroking, now killing. From the belt of her father, to a justification of arms deals to Saudi Arabia, or a lover's bite marks, totemic lashes are deployed in the boardroom and the bedroom: Chris makes little distinction between pleasure and business as memories overlap.
Such capricious mood swings are signalled by Danny Krass' sounds, crackling in the air like a lightning bolt. And as Chris drip feeds the information into how it was she came to lie, cheat and kill, Becky Minto's design and Nich Smith's neon lights shower the room in primary colours; both beautiful and disturbing.
Symbols of romance are eroticised: cherry blossom rains down, and strewn rose petals from a pillowcase become props in a dangerous game of seduction. Where 'sadomasochism and kittens' dominate the internet, everything is up for grabs. Chris' nihilism may seem fantastical, but it is rooted in real pain.
Traverse Theatre, until 26 Aug (not 6, 13, 20), times vary, £20.50 (£15.50).