Frantic Assembly, Stockholm

Review in Issue 20-3 | Autumn 2008

The melting together of new writing and physical theatre has been an ongoing mission for Frantic Assembly. The problem with some previous work being that the spoken text and physical expression often seemed illustrative of each other, rather than making their own statements. Why have add-on gestures if the words are doing their job; why have words if the movement is telling the story?

In Stockholm, the company’s quest to deliver a challenging new play on a serious subject – an integrated ‘total theatre’ of words, movement, soundtrack, and visual imagery – has hit home. The words ‘hit’ and ‘home’ being apt here, as this is a play about domestic violence. It is kitchen sink drama – yet this kitchen is no sink-estate hovel but a gleaming chrome designer job; and the couple whose story we are hearing are young, sexy, go-getting urbanites. To add a further twist to the tale, it is she who starts the hitting. All the action is set inside the couple’s flat – the site of pleasure and pain – as we are taken through the erotic highs and abusive lows of a birthday dinner.

A precise and poetic script by Bryony Laver (a mix of storytelling addressed to the audience and dialogue); perfectly pitched performances from Georgina Lamb and Samuel James; a beautiful set design that gives our co-dependant victim-abusers a glamorous playground in which to dance, fight and fuck. And sensitive and imaginative choreography and direction by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett that really does the job, allowing the words and movement to organically interweave.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2008

This article in the magazine

Issue 20-3
p. 31