Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Mon 9–Sat 14 Jun
The gruesome ongoing discoveries in the Jersey abuse scandal and the uncovered horrors of Austrian Josef Fritzl’s secret basement have done little to quell the worst nightmares of parents. It is into this climate that David Grindley throws his new production of Blackbird, David Harrower’s award-winning play, which deals with the realities of sexual abuse.
The piece focuses on an encounter between middle-aged Ray and a woman with whom he had a love affair 15 years earlier, which began when she was 12.
Robert Daws, the male lead, is keen to point out the absence of tabloid moralising in Harrower’s piece. ‘He’s thrown up more questions than he’s prepared to answer, and they’re the questions every audience should be asking themselves about how they feel about the situation, judging the stories of two particular people and coming to their own conclusions.’
Notwithstanding the apparent objectivity over an incredibly contentious issue, Daws points out that there is little ambiguity in the production. ‘There’s no place to hide in this play at all and it explains in great detail exactly what paedophilia is. I don’t think anyone could leave the theatre without a revulsion about it, but what they will do is have more of an understanding of human nature.’ Covering sexual obsession and the repercussions of the past, this production promises an intensity and intelligence worthy of such a harrowing subject.