Theatre review: The Driver's Seat
National Theatre of Scotland's latest is dark, dense and brooding
Described by author Muriel Spark as a ‘whydunnit’, The Driver’s Seat follows the character of Lise. In the novella, adapted for the stage and directed by The National Theatre of Scotland’s artistic director Laurie Sansom, this erratic young woman, with a taste for the bright and the provocative, travels from northern Europe to Italy, where she apparently aims to meet up with her boyfriend. Her intentions, however, are not all what they initially seem to be: instead, the cruel extent of her twisted mind, heart and soul is revealed.
The play towers up much like a gathering storm, slowly, thickly and breathlessly building in a sinister grumble to the inevitable whip and snap of its devastating conclusion. The temperature grows and stifles until the broken mind of Lise is laid bare in one shocking act.
The sound, brilliantly assembled by Philip Pinsky, illustrates the extreme oddness of the characters and helps create a world that recalls David Lynch’s films. Managing to be both funny and creepy, the nightmarish landscape is brought to life with crunching force, thanks to excellent performances, sound and set design.
Weird, unhinged and psychologically violent, The Driver’s Seat is an astonishing piece of theatre by the National Theatre Of Scotland – and guaranteed to keep you up at night.