Wednesday, November 26, 2008

In a Dark Dark House by Neil LaBute, Almeida Theatre, 25-November-2008 – Directed by Michael Attenborough

I'm not sure what I am supposed to think about Neil LaBute. Personally speaking I always find his stuff interesting (which is never a good word to use in a review even if, like now, it's used sincerely) , with plenty of good bits and often challenging ideas. However, given his popularity with some theatres, I wonder if I am supposed to gush about his plays more and praise his use of language or something.
This play took sometime to get going with lots of ducking and weaving in speeches between two brothers (David Morrissey's Terry and Steven Mackintosh's Drew) which did not reveal character as much as it reminded me that I wasn't watching American actors. Once the evasions were over and the brothers' stories began to unfold it became much more satisfying and gripping.
The middle of the three scenes was effectively creepy producing an uncomfortable mixture of arousal and shame. In the cold light of hindsight I realised that I hadn't actually been all that convinced by the seduction that took place: What did this fifteen year old girl (Kira Sternbach) see in this forty-something man (David Morrissey) that made her so willing to flirt and play along with him? It had been all a little too easy and I hadn't seen enough into the girl's character to understand her motives in the scene.
The final scene of this interval-less evening was the strongest, with all the past histories flooding out. I did wonder if we should have been told, sooner, a little bit more about the relationships between the brothers and their father. I didn't feel that it had coloured the first scene enough. That said, if this information had been there then the final revelations would not have been as powerful as they were.


quin browne said...

any child who is sexually abused is often very sexually provocative. a female who does not have a father figure she can trust will seek one in the way she can hold, there are a number of reasons for her behaviour...

the beauty of labute (and i find beauty in his ice words) is he makes you question and think...

drew, terry... all of them are wrapped up in generational anger, pain and a search for love in some form or another.

John said...
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