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London

Tron Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
There’s something deeply troubling at the heart of this double bill of 
solo plays by Simon Stephens, which say much about the love/hate 
relationship with the city it takes its collective name from, be it at 
home or away. The first, T5, finds a woman in a hotel bedroom on the 
run from the crime scene she’s just witnessed, but unable to flee 
completely from the responsibilities she’s left behind. The second, 
Seawall, follows a shaggy dog story told by a man who seems to have 
everything, right through to the holiday accident that changed 
everything.

Both plays have appeared separately in different productions during the 
Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Seen together in George Perrin’s touring 
production for Paines Plough in association with Live Theatre, 
Newcastle and Salisbury Playhouse, these beautifully written studies of 
urban neuroses and everyday tragedies form a complimentary whole made 
even more powerful by how each story is told.

The Woman in T5’s interior monologue is heard by the audience through 
headphones as she plays out her anxiety on a careful reconstruction of 
a bland hotel room. For Seawall, the stage is stripped bare and the 
audience exposed to the harsh glare of unadorned light, with nothing 
hidden.

With both shows clocking in at just under an hour for the two, the 
plays may be brief, but Stephens and Perrin pack more sense of unease 
into them than many full-length works can muster. While Abby Ford as 
the Woman in T5 makes for a restless figure seemingly in disguise, Cary 
Crankson as Alex in Seawall is so laid-back that the play’s conclusion 
is even more shocking in a masterpiece of understatement.

The Herald, November 15th 2012

ends



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