The Old Red Lion Theatre (venue)
28 March 2018 (released)
30 March 2018
‘I let them cut me, your words.’ ‘You wanted a puppet, a play-thing.’
Nordic actress and writer Disa Anderson brings her new play about a young, dysfunctional relationship triangle to the Old Red Lion Theatre. Running at 35minutes it follows the main house production and is well worth hanging on for.
Joanna (played by Anderson) is seventeen when her apparently more sophisticated friend introduces her to a dominating man in his twenties. She is nieve, he is controlling and the attraction is instant. As Joanna points out in direct address monologues that punctuate the drama, fear and attraction have similar responses.
If this is an exploration of domestic violence which it claims to be, we’re talking about controlling, critical behaviour rather than overt violence or distress. Over time this kind of relationship can be extremely destructive but in such a short show, with multiple short scenes, the drama fails to ignite a real sense of threat and we are left wondering why Joanna seems quite so traumatised. Joshua Stretton is convincing as Jack though never frightening and Anderson captures a vulnerable idealism. The impression is of an early relationship that doesn’t work, damaging to Joanna’s self esteem but not traumatising. She is young and innocent but far from powerless.
That said it’s a very watchable – the use of dance to express the physical intimacy of relationships are affective and much of the dialogue has a pleasing poetic quality. It will be interesting to see what Frigg Theatre do next.