Tron Theatre, Glasgow
3 stars When Mike Cullen's play about a hypnotherapist, the young woman she treats and the young woman's father appeared in 1997, it was devastatingly timely. Sexual abuse of children by their families was being exposed in a way it never had been before, but so was False Memory Syndrome, whereby seemingly long-buried traumas were 'revealed.' Almost sixteen years on, and Cullen's play is no less breath-taking in Rekindle Theatre's intense and up close and personal revival. It begins with Anna and her live-in patient Lynn surrounded by boxes all neatly packed with forgotten memories in a limbo between the past, present and a brand new future. As Lynn frantically rummages around for a long lost photograph, the pair spar with the brutality only co-dependents can muster. Lynn has invited her father who may or may not have abused her to visit in order to confront him. Anna doesn't approve, even less so when David appears. For seventy-five emotionally relentless minutes, a troubling portrait of fractured lives is laid out in the rawest of fashions. Cullen's lines are like knives, stabbing out accusingly in little staccato assaults until one or other character crumbles. Such meticulously constructed barbs require subtlety rather than hysteria, and while Janette Foggo's production isn't quite the revival the play deserves, Kirstin McLean's Anna is as manipulative as she is brittle, while Joanne Thomson's Lynn is equally fragile. The play's ambiguity remains, however, and it's perhaps for that very reason it's been neglected for so long. With everything that's happened since it was first seen, the psychological scars it picks at have become even more real than they did before.
The Herald, March 29th 2013 ends