Dundee Rep, Thu 3–Sat 5 Apr then touring
Perhaps the greatest education we can receive is a sudden reorientation of perspective, and Torben Betts’ play, here revived by Stellar Quines in preparation for a tour ending in New York, makes this alteration of viewpoint with extraordinary efficacy.
In it, a bourgeois middle-aged couple from the English shires (Neil McKinven and Alexandra Mathie) struggle with their discontented, intellectual daughter (Nicola Harrison) while doing nothing to address their own desperate suburban repression. A socialist revolution spreads from Westminster, culminating in a vicious counter revolution from the Bushian New World Order, bringing a violent soldier (Neal Barry) into their home.
Muriel Romanes’ splendid production is, once again, both aesthetically and politically challenging, combining as it does Betts’ Marcuseian anger at our surrogation of organic human happiness for shallow material gain with a wild poetic style. This latter features endless jagged rhythms and counterpointed, repeated aphorisms to create a sense of savage indignation about colonialism and our evasion of political reality. The abstractions of design, movement, costume and sound juxtapose nicely with the real human pain that we see. The performances, too, are strong, with Mathie in particular managing to capture moments of the banal realism of suburbia amidst the strange poetic discourse to startling effect.