Reviewed – 23rd January 2019
“The writing has a really interesting rhythm that creates tension and fear, but occasionally this tension leads nowhere.”
Brooke Robinson’s one-woman thriller has an interesting concept and an exciting premise, playing with our inherent voyeuristic desires to watch lives unfold around us, despite us never really knowing anyone’s truth.
The play is about Ann (Grace Chilton), a lonely recluse who obsessively watches her neighbours through the windows to their flats. The arrival of a new neighbour and his daughter – a girl in a pink dress – sparks Ann’s attention. When the new neighbour denies the existence of the girl in the pink dress, Ann is left to question the accuracy of her own vision, regularly complaining about her sight and thereby leaving her dangerous obsessions to spiral.
The set of hanging blinds that set the stage is simple but effective, not only making great use of the Studio at The Vaults but also allowing us to focus on Grace Chilton’s disturbing performance as Ann. Although the fast paced monologues occasionally become confused, they are delivered articulately and succinctly, allowing Chilton to give life to this unstable character who is frightening and endearing all at once. Through Melissa Dunne’s neat direction, the performer manages to break through moments of obsessive intensity and create moments of genuine comedy, like when she phones a neighbour in distress to then proudly admit to us, with a humble smile, that she knows all the tenants phone numbers by heart.
However, it is these changes in tone that the play lacked. The writing has a really interesting rhythm that creates tension and fear, but occasionally this tension leads nowhere. Chilton packs an emotional punch when the action climaxes, but the play feels like it needed more of these outbursts. Despite the fast paced nature of the writing and the performance, the often unchanging tone somewhat slowed the piece down.
The play certainly has some tension and mystery and the performance does have a haunting quality to it, but there is opportunity within it to create even greater suspense, even more fear, and perhaps just a little more clarity.
Reviewed by Tobias Graham
Part of VAULT Festival 2019