Reviewed – 5th July 2018
“The space is wonderfully navigated, a clear indication of the quality of Luke Davies’ direction”
The smell of late night takeaway wafts through the space as we enter the living room of a flat on a South Yorkshire council estate. Pat has been having violent dreams and they are making him scared of himself. When he meets Danny, a family friend of his mums in the pub, Danny invites him back to his flat to implement a tailored therapy course that he assures Pat will heal him, but this is a sinister sort of therapy involving violence and cricket bats, and Pat isn’t allowed to leave.
The script is fantastically crafted, awfully inevitable yet still pumped with a claustrophobic sense of suspense. Joseph Skelton, the play’s writer, is a clear talent, mixing humour with darkness and presenting a narrative of desperate manipulation and complete abuse of power and trust.
Both characters are beautifully layered, lonely and confused and in crisis, in a climate where male mental health issues are notoriously under discussed and masculinity is defined by power. Robert Walter plays Danny, a man who is so fragile he is dangerous. Pat is played by Hugh Train, wide-eyed with the hope and optimism of this therapy, this friendship, later jaded and darker. Walters and Train deliver faultless performances, both as a pair and individually, at ease onstage, never dropping the pace for a moment.
The design is beautifully thought through, detailed and coherent, tied together by the repeating red of the furniture, the lampshade, a ketchup bottle, a sleeping bag. The space is wonderfully navigated, a clear indication of the quality of Luke Davies’ direction.
This is a brilliant piece of theatre, well-written, well-executed and unapologetically dark, investigating masculinity, mental health and abuse with an unflinching depth.
Reviewed by Amelia Brown
Photography by Laura Harling
Hope Theatre until 21st July
Previously reviewed at this venue