Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: CUT, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Billy Barrett.
A shadowy man pursues a woman during a night-time flight. After landing, he stalks her through the airport arrival zone and the streets of an unnamed city. Or is it she who’s pursuing him? CUT smashes together the jagged fragments of a story to create a disorienting and horrifically powerful psychological thriller, positioning its
audience somewhere between the perpetrator, the victim and the movie director of a disturbed woman’s violent
Performer Hannah Norris prefaces the piece with a warning that the space we’re in – configured to look like the aisle of an aeroplane – will shortly be plunged into total darkness. She’s not exaggerating – this show is absolutely not for claustrophobes or anyone prone to panic attacks. But if it gets too much for any audience member, Norris assures, they may raise their hand and simply say “cut” to be escorted out of the space. For those who can handle its knife-edge tension and dizzying minutes of heavy blackness, CUT offers an unforgettable experience – this is theatre to be felt rather than watched, its nightmarish intensity making it one of those rare productions that truly warrants the tag “immersive”.
Writer Duncan Graham’s text owes as much to the urban dislocation and random acts of violence in the plays of Simon Stephens or Sarah Kane as to its stated film noir and performance art influences, with a disjointed narrative that darts between different perspectives, speaking of isolation, anxiety and dread. There’s a poetic precision to the language, abstract and shard-like, that cuts through any descriptive flab and stabs you with some viscerally violent imagery. If the delivery occasionally tips over into Hammer Horror histrionics, it’s only for the briefest of moments – Norris is out for more than just ghost-train thrills here and it’s worth hanging on for the full ride.
Underbelly George Square (Venue 300) until 31 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 22 August 2015
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