Noren is apparently Sweden's most frequently performed living playwright, but this British premiere does little to convince that he is much more than a light-deprived Alan Ayckbourn. The explicitness of the exchanges, in which each character says their piece without really listening to the other party, does, in theory, ring true of family life and, at times, strikes a comic chord. But it's a dramatic trick Noren pulls too often, leaving you feeling that all he has up his sleeve is an endless amount of therapist's Kleenex.
That relentless outspokenness need not necessarily mean glaring obviousness is stylishly demonstrated by Trivial TC's English revival of Bernard-Marie Koltes's Dans la Solitude des Champs de Coton (In the Solitude of the Cotton Fields) at the Gate. The more explicitly the two characters, known simply as the Client and the Dealer, attempt to state their intentions, the more ambiguous and sinister they sound. "The only actual frontier is between the buyer and the seller," Kimon Koufogiannis's Dealer explains, as he paces a strip of pavement in diametrical opposition to Joseph Lewis's gutter-situated Client. Koltes's dense language, which meshes paradoxical aphorism with protracted simile, is sometimes mind-boggling, but at its best conveys the primitive violence lurking in the most ineffable transaction. Koltes died of Aids in 1989, but this 1987 piece still looks good 10 years on - for all the Nordic gloom that Naomi Brooks' lighting design throws at it.
`Autumn and Winter' (0171-351 2876) to 29 March; `In the Solitude of the Cotton Fields' to 5 April (0171-229 5387)Reuse content