Brighton FringeDramaReviewSouth East

Brighton Fringe: Hang – Sweet Waterfront 1

Writer: Debbie Tucker Green
Director: Kevin Russell
Reviewer: James Napleton

Hang is an engaging, dialogue-focused drama that unfolds in almost Kafkaesque loops of misdirection and mystery.
The entire performance is staged in a meeting room with an unnamed woman and two agents one red and one blue. Set in the near future the woman has come to confirm her decision in regard to a past incident, she must decide on how the death penalty must be administered as the victim to a crime. The two agents appear to be helpful but trapped by officious regulations they only serve to aggrieve the woman and she soon becomes emotionally overwhelmed, their questions reminding her of past trauma.

It is from this contrast that much of the dark humour is drawn: the woman chides the two agents for their contrived and trained responses, and they try to stay amicable like two helpless representatives. This creates a satirical atmosphere by attacking the commercialization of civic life, which is expressed mainly through the limited use of language and expression of the two agents as they are confined by their corporate lexicon.

Hang has a wonderful rhythm, with the play ranging from emotionally charged rants to snappy comic exchanges. The action is broken up by stark sequences where the two agents leave and the woman is left alone, pacing or drifting around the meeting room. The play is well balanced and this highlights the quality direction and writing, while the three strong performances ( Kim Christie, Jessica Flood & Tiannah Viechweg) cap it off. The performances are coupled with the suggestiveness of the language and lack of detail, which draws the audience into a constant state of curiosity and suspense. This is slowly eased as detail and clarity drips slowly through the ambiguity, however, there is lots left for the audience’s imagination.

There is something dissatisfying, however, beyond the loose ends of the dialogue, that the overriding concept of the capital punishment feels slightly unexplained. Though, this is a small distraction from a rich and engrossing drama.

Runs until 28 May 2017 at Sweet Waterfront 1

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