Dying City, Royal Court Upstairs, London

A nasty case of double vision
Click to follow
The Independent Culture

In fact, Shinn's whole set-up is about seeing double. The soldier, Craig, has been dead a year when his identical twin, Peter, suddenly turns up at the apartment where the late sibling's ex, Kelly, still lives. Peter (Andrew Scott) is a vain star actor who keeps talking about how everyone fancies him. On one level, this is a black satire about egocentric insensitivity. At the same time, Peter is worryingly manic, obsessively talking about old times and saying he sometimes imagines that he is Craig. Though we gather Peter is gay, it appears that Kelly is stalked by him and by painful memories. She is a superficially calm therapist on the verge of a grief-stricken breakdown and, whenever Peter exits to make a call, Scott re-enters as Craig in a flashback.

Unfortunately, Dying City is of waning interest. It does generate suspense, but Craig's festering secret proves dull and this dramatist is fond of psychoanalytic clichés. His two-hander might seem more unnerving and slicker if director James McDonald had sharpened the comic flashes, ditched all the costume changes and had Scott make his alter egos less obviously distinct. Still, Siân Brooke is superb, conveying Kelly's pain by barely showing it, with tears welling up in her eyes as she carries on the conversation.

To 10 June, 020 7565 5000