ChoppedLogic, Double Negative

Review in Issue 20-1 | Spring 2008

The kind of work that falls within Total Theatre’s remit often proceeds by conjuring alternate realities — fantastic worlds which reflect our own only obliquely or ironically — while commentary on real lives and headline issues is left to the playwrights. In this quietly intelligent piece, ChoppedLogic seek to switch that around, presenting a multi-layered work which applies its rich theatrical aesthetic to a story about sex trafficking hitting suburbia.

Double Negative plays in the round, with Susannah Henry’s assured set and Cis O’Boyle’s beautifully weighted array of domestic pendant lights creating an immersive field that Steve Rafter’s detailed sound design unites and extends - this sense of cohesiveness and control underwrites the whole piece. Director Dorcas Werber’s nuanced text, only occasionally overstretching its lyricism, is a fine example of ‘new writing’ adapted to equally new methodologies. The performances are excellent, with Lawrence Werber outstanding as the lonely curtain-twitcher whose quiet life is rudely interrupted; the touching sequence in which unexpected visitor Mai confronts a boiled egg for the first time is exquisitely played.

Ultimately, though, the piece is just too cool and collected to really convince. We never confront the horror from which the house-guest has fled. As a poignant culture-clash drama, the piece excels: but it creates little space for anger or argument. The meticulous smoothness of its internal fluidity leaves nothing jagged to stick in the mind once it’s over. Double Negative absolutely reconfirms the promise of ChoppedLogic, but there’s room to be braver and bolder next time out.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Oct 2007

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-1
p. 34