Thin Line Theatre Company, The Shower Scene

Review in Issue 9-4 | Winter 1997

Thin Line take Hitchcock’s most memorable sequence from the movie Psycho, to ask why a space so apparently functional, banal and clean as a shower can serve to excavate secrets, violence and terror.

Kevin McGreevy has the figure and presence for the role of the great director himself. His words are largely taken from the film’s teasing trailer. Jane Glennie as Marion (a conflation of the movie roles of Norman’s mother and the motel victim) has a powerful physical presence. Jonathan Tritton, as Norman, almost plays the ‘straight’ man, in a characterisation far from the twitching oddity of Anthony Perkins. His understated performance reinforces identification with his status as the childhood victim of family tragedy.

The most exciting aspect of this production (directed by Richard Talbot in association with Carran Waterfield of Triange), is the deployment of bodies and props. The imaginative use of a baby’s red suit in a birth scene is more harrowing and violent than the murder reconstructions, however good they are. The lighting by Grant Wilton and sound by Paul Bull pay creative homage to the film.

Even the weakest moments are interesting. The direct address to the audience, when the company reproach them for their prurient interest in violence, was a cliché. It was also inappropriate to the Shrewsbury audience, who were probably not part of a broader trend which glorifies in representations of violence. However, Thin Line perform an important function by bringing ‘avant-garde’ theatre to rural audiences, and by suggesting to young people that theatre can hold its own against the challenges of film and television.

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Shropshire New Arts Network

Date Seen
  1. Nov 1997

This article in the magazine

Issue 9-4
p. 26