Review: Contains Violence

By John Nathan, April 10, 2008

Lyric Hammersmith, London W6

Two kinds of gap feature during this chilly open air evening.

The first is the considerable distance between the action, which takes place in office windows, and the audience, who sit on the Lyric’s roof terrace and are equipped with binoculars and headphones.

David Rosenberg’s play has been touted as a thriller akin to Hitchcock’s Rear Window. In one office building a man sits working at his desk. Occasionally he is interrupted by abusive messages. They could be from the woman in the adjacent block.

A narrator warns of murder should they meet. Inevitably, they do. But before then, a second male worker makes a pass at the woman with the aid of a slide show presentation. And the first male worker strips to his underpants before being assaulted.

Technically the show results in a mind-expanding sensation that brings distant characters so close you can almost feel — as well as hear — their breath.

But whereas with his theatre collective Shunt, Rosenberg successfully sidesteps conventional storytelling, here his script is almost entirely lacking in character development and tension. Which all leads us to the second kind of gap — the yawning chasm between brilliant concept and disappointing execution.

Tel: 0871 22 117 29

Last updated: 1:04pm, May 20 2008