Response to women on the frontline of war let down by fixation with motherhood
Katy Warner wrote this two-hander in response to the Australian government's decision to allow women to fight on the frontline by 2016. And perhaps the price to pay for reacting fictionally before the policy is fully implemented is that there might not be enough material available on which to base her story.
Instead, Warner has imagined a pressure-cooker tale of two abandoned soldiers, with nods to Beckett and Stoppard in its circles of boredom, manic anecdotes and absurdist non-sequiturs.
As savage reality encroaches on the games, however, there emerges a distinct, persistent feminine focus to the soldiers' mental disintegration – babies. Women swapping making babies for killing babies, in Warner's world, is a state of affairs doomed to end in horror of the most appalling Sarah Kane-esque style.
This lazy motif unfortunately dominates a script that is otherwise peppered with vicious poetry and interesting images of femininity. The relentless association of women, motherhood and mental breakdown, however, leaves a sour taste in a piece purporting to deal with women escaping the confines of gender.
Strong performances from Sarah Cullinan and Natalia Sledz sensitively chart the emotional dynamics though, and director/designer David McVicar's box set brings a sense of enclosed menace.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug (not 15), 1pm, £9–£10 (£8–£9).