Nocturne (4 stars)

This article is from 2008.


Spare, nuanced monologue on grief

In Adam Rapp’s monologue the absolute tangibility of one person’s grief is paralleled with the inescapable fact that triggers it. In it, a 32-year-old man reflects on the day, 15 years earlier, when he accidentally killed his younger sister. From this moment, all the comfortable assumptions of his bourgeois suburban upbringing crumbled, his family disintegrating into madness and recrimination. Our narrator has exiled himself from his (and Rapp’s) hometown of Joliet Illinois to an impoverished and bookish life in New York. From here, gentle moves toward some form of rapprochement with the protagonist’s dying father are mixed with the uncertain rebuilding of his life as a novelist.

This theatrically spare piece, which, aside from a little back projection is pretty much a short story delivered on stage, derives immense power from Rapp’s capacity for observing everyday detail, with the odd surreal metaphor thrown in for good measure. Peter McDonald’s nuanced delivery captures all the loneliness and alienation of his character, while Rapp’s rich language adds immense pathos to this man’s social and sexual dysfunction. You’ll long to go home and phone a parent afterwards.

Traverse Theatre, 228 1404, until 10 Aug, times vary, £14–£16 (£10–£11).

Nocturne (Previews)

  • 4 stars

A young man reeling from the tragic death of his younger sister flees to New York City and reinvents himself as a writer. New work from the writer of 2006's multi-award winning 'Finer Noble Gases'


  • 4 stars

New work from the writer of 2006's multi-award winning 'Finer Noble Gases'. Detailed and possessing a striking pathos, this haunting exploration of sororicide and urban alienation derives immense power from Adam Rapp's performance. 'Part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe'

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