Directed by Kathy Burke with a crack team, it's a bit like The Archers or The Waltons crazily contaminated with traces of Gogol's Government Inspector, Kafka and the dark Absurdism of Pinter and Ionesco.
It might be just another humdrum morning as the stolid farmer, Stuart McQuarrie's Frank, pulls on his boots to go check his heifers and as his wife, Lesley Sharp's Emma, wanders downstairs in her dressing gown.
However, there's a sinister wind blowing and something manic about her chatter. A man named Haynes - supposedly Frank's old friend - has shown up and is sleeping in their basement. Sharp is asking with breathy excitement - or inquisitorial persistence? - what exactly he does as a government scientist. One gleans it involves plutonium, and Ewan Bremner's Haynes reveals himself as a gibbering wreck on the run, farcically sparking off electric storms when he shakes hands.
Worse, when Emma is alone, a surreal scary salesman, Ben Daniels' Welch, strides through her front door, offering her Stars 'n' Stripes cookies. He's clean-cut, blond, blue-eyed but with loony short suit-trousers. When she resists, he turns ferociously nasty, asking about the property, the basement, stamping with a thundering reverberation, talking with a Daffy Duck lisp while cornering her like a wolf. By the end, he's electrocuting the menfolk into submission.
Daniels' performance is a tour de force, but he has to do the tour a few times as the play loses its way somewhat and, in fact, grows less gripping the more literal the torture becomes.
To 3 December, 0870 060 6624
- More about:
- Actors And Actresses
- Sauces And Dressings
- Styles And Clothes