Vanishing Point’s Interiors was inspired by a Maurice Maeterlinck play, but brings to mind Hitchcock’s Rear Window and Avril Paton’s Glasgow postcard favourite ‘Windows in the West’ in its exploration of lit houses as the ultimate free voyeuristic entertainment.
At first, watching the wordless action taking place behind a wall of glass, is disconcerting, particularly as the faces of the audience are reflected in the glass before the lights are dimmed. Yet, the performances of the eight-strong cast, playing guests gathering for a traditional midwinter dinner party in a remote, harsh location, are so crisp and evocative that we quickly readjust. Gradually their surface interactions are undermined and contradicted by an (at first unseen) narrator. As the focus continually shifts between this omniscient voice and the imagined relationships between the characters, our identification shifts accordingly: at times we feel part of the disparate group in the house; when the narrator comes to the fore we feel similarly shut out in the cold.
What really impresses about this production is the way in which every element – from the performances, to Kai Fischer’s supple set design and atmospheric lighting and Alasdair Macrae’s haunting soundscape – gels to create a poignant, incisive, at times uncomfortable, exploration of human isolation, whether one is on the outside looking in or in a roomful of people.
Macrobert, Stirling, Wed 15 Apr, then touring; seen at Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 8 Apr