The playwright has obviously done his homework and displays a fine ear for jailbird argot (nicely plumbed with the men's unwittingly witty absurdities) as well as a good feel for the shape (the siege outside the cell heightens the tension of the siege-mentality within) and pace of a drama. But it is his handling of the many layers of fiction that each man wraps around himself both to keep a terrible truth at bay and to manipulate his relationships that impresses most and keeps everyone guessing to the last appalling moment. In the first preview, however, the combination of the speed, density and aggression was too winding. Nevertheless, director Derek Wax has drawn ferocious performances from a distinguished cast. Pip Donaghy exudes wheedling dishonesty (recalling Pinter's infamous caretaker Davis); Daniel Craig contains his violence like an unexploded mine; Rob Spendlove's jagged frustration reveals a savagely damaged psyche. A debut of great promise.
Continues at the Lyric Studio, W6 (081-741 8701) to 15 August.Reuse content