Exploring the machinations of power
This article is from 2010.
Louise Welsh excels at excavating the dark and depraved aspects of the human psyche, eking out secret desires and fears. In this dialogue between a beautiful captive girl and her love-deluded jailer, not much else is given away by the brutal staging, chilling sound effects and lack of external references. The verbal (and physical) sparring between the characters (John Stahl terrifyingly unreadable in his intentions and Emily Taaffe instantly eliciting sympathy) drops constantly shifting clues to the couple’s relationship, amending and revising, messing with time until the predator/victim set-up is muddled.
The characters are fleshed out – Cora has a name, a mother, a friend, she used to have gerbils – but the shifting bounds of the relationship and refusal of director Hannah Eidinow to give any solid interpretation imply that isolated in this room an archetypical struggle is being represented, and it’s all the more affecting for it. Instead of bringing to light one fully formed example of hidden humanity, this time Welsh bores straight into the heart of the matter, echoing the locked rooms in all our minds.
Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 30 Aug (not 17, 24), 5.20pm, £10–£12 (£9–£10).