Must see: Secret Theatre: Show 3, Lyric Hammersmith, London W6


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The Independent Culture

The Lyric's Secret Theatre repertory invites you to make a date with shows advertised by number. In this case it is Chamber Piece by Caroline Bird, a pitch-black comedy in which a monstrous prison governor (superb Cara Horgan) trials the reintroduction of the death penalty to the UK.

The test case is Richard Sanger (Leo Bill), who raped and murdered a teenager, but his heart keeps beating and he revives as an amnesiac simpleton.

In surges of farce, the Governor desperately tries to have him proved sane. Bird writes with a fearless wit, and Sean Holmes's astringent production ends with a spectacular coup de théâtre that puts your relationship to proceedings in a startling perspective.

020 8741 6850; to 5 November