Claustrophobia (3 stars)

This article is from 2014


Evocative theatre production let down by disappointing climax at Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Claustrophia, created by To The Moon theatre company in association with Theatre Bench, explores exactly what it means to be in control when two unnamed strangers become stuck in a lift together. Jessica Macdonald plays a neurotic woman on her way home to faithful cat Eddie, whilst Paul Tinto is a haughty and arrogant ex-soldier. As it becomes apparent no one is coming to let them out, Macdonald becomes increasingly panicked and steely Tinto looses his cool.

Minimal staging informs this adaptation of novelist Jason Hewitt’s debut play: the lift is merely a square marked out in white tape and while there is no clock to mark the hours, time passing is represented through a repetitive routine of bodily habits. The effect is not lost on the audience in the appropriately pokey Zoo Monkey House. As Tinto proclaims, ‘It’s all psychology’, ensuring the focus is firmly on the fraught intimacy developing between the two.

Both actors put on stellar performances, but are let down by the script. The abrupt ending perplexes, leaving many loose ends untied – how do they get out of the lift? Do they even get out of the lift? A disappointing climax to an otherwise strong piece of theatre.

The Zoo, run ended.


  • 3 stars

To The Moon in association with Theatre Bench ‘We could do whatever we like in here and no one would ever know’. ‘Apart from you and me’. A woman. A man. Trapped in a lift. Isolated from the outside world, games and fantasies blur into memories neither wishes to confront. The debut play from novelist Jason Hewitt (The…