Writer: Debbie Tucker Green
Director: Izzy Rabey
Reviewer: Beth Steer
Set in a time close to now, and comprised of characters known only as One, Two and Three, Debbie Tucker Green’s Hang imagines a UK in which the death penalty remains legal. But there’s a twist: the victims get to choose how the perpetrator dies.
The brilliantly dark concept is brought to life by three fantastic actresses: Anita Reynolds is Three, the victim, and Seren Vickers and Alexandria Riley are One and Two, the officers. As One and Two try to make Three feel comfortable, a process that’s ridiculed openly for its futility, they discuss the different options available, without ever mentioning the exact nature of the perpetrator’s crime or his upcoming punishment.
The cutting writing makes a mockery of the bureaucracy and administrative red tape that, while intending to put victims of crime at ease, distances them even further, and highlights a complete lack of understanding (despite extensive ‘training and role play’).
Reynolds plays the victim brilliantly, with a haunting monologue and cynical expression, while Vickers and Riley desperately try to employ consoling language: they appreciate, they understand, they know. The dynamic that the three actresses create is powerful.
Hang is dark, and it’s funny. The clever, subtle way that the cast bounces off each other, exploring British society’s cringing tendency to try and find humour in awkward situations, is all too relatable, and excruciating.
Reminiscent of Charlie Brookers’ Black Mirror in the unapologetic way it tackles a taboo subject, Hang provides an eerie, dystopian window into a potential future. And, at only an hour long, it’s accessible, too. It makes you think and keeps you guessing long after the lights go out.
Runs until 16 September 2017 | Image: Kieran Cudlip