Brave Badger Theatre presents a compelling verbatim play by Harriet Madeley about retribution, rehabilitation and forgiveness, based on interviews with the perpetrators and victims of violent life-changing crime, one involving a murder case.
Five actors, dressed in identical costumes, are sat on stage. Guided by audio instructions, members of the audience hand five different envelopes that have been placed on their seats to the actors, determining which identities they will take on tonight. Using headphones, the actors recite recordings of Harriet Madeley’s original interviews as they hear them whilst a bodiless voice invites the audience to repeat the questions of the absent interviewer, which makes the experience immediate. Each speaker is signalled by the cast as they switch a light on or off. The random matching of actor and character often leads to cross-gender casting. On the evening when I review the show, the genders of the middle-aged couple are switched around and one of the male perpetrators is being played by a female actor. The monologues are occasionally paused by symbolic painting on the stage walls.
The real-life monologues are brought to life by the convincing and often haunting performances of the outstanding cast in Max Barton‘s powerful production. The grieving parents of a murdered young man talk about their pain and anger but are willing to forgive and even meet the killers of their son years after the crime. A perpetrator talks about how his frustration and alienation lead him to commit senseless violence. The performances are so vivid and immediate that one truly gets to know the characters and empathises with their need for forgiveness. 4/5
Review written by Carolin Kopplin.
The Listening Room is currently showing at the Old Red Lion Theatre until Saturday 4th March 2017. For more information on the production, visit here…
Tuesday 28th February with Jacob Dunne.
Thursday 2nd March with Tim Isherwood and Susy Barnes.