Review: Death and the Maiden, Mustard Theatre Company, Wingfield Barns

Latest What's On from the Diss Express,, @diss_express on Twitter
Latest What's On from the Diss Express,, @diss_express on Twitter

Mustard Theatre Company.

Political drama, a feminist element, a small cast and a fiery female lead make a much-performed play. Ariel Dorfman’s script is set in an unnamed country. Call it Chile, but it could be anywhere.

The characters are from the intelligent, articulate class, aware of what a dictatorship is doing.

Like Macbeth, it is also a Mars versus Venus play, with male dominance brought down by the female.

Lynda Phillips, as the woman who thinks she recognises her former torturer, in a man her husband brings home, gives a performance with every nerve-ending exposed. Her trussing of his unconscious body, in a replica of her own former plight, is electric theatre.

It is the woman’s play; but the men hold their own. You cannot be sure if the tables have been justly turned on the supposed ravisher or not.

Thus Phil Ling elicits some sympathy in being bound, gagged and threatened with a gun. He is able to retain a dignity under duress.

Rob Backhouse, in a rather underwritten part, still evokes the husband’s quandary of emotions. Directed by Steven Phipps, the evening has the grip of a torturer’s electrode.