Scotsman Assembly, Edinburgh
August, 2001

** Far less thoughtful than it pretends to be

This one-man work claims to look at the complexities around ideas of revenge, but in fact it over-simplifies for the sake of the show

Pip Utton has been garlanded with awards on the Fringe in previous years for his solo portrayal of Hitler. This year he has written a story about a man whose daughter was killed in a hit-and-run accident, and his determination to "execute" the driver. He aims to question our attitudes towards ideas like culpability and revenge, but evidently had firm ideas when writing about where the story should go, and even without noticing it he has sacrificed every chance of raising genuinely complex issues to the priority of producing a shapely piece of work. At times the gap between what the play pretends to and what it delivers makes it feel downright fraudulent.

Utton is an energetic, dedicated actor, but not one with a great range; in fact, it genuinely took twenty minutes for me to realise that he was actually alternating between two separate characters. His emotional register may change, but the tone of his performance does not. And the play is too writerly and his performance too actorly for us ever to immerse ourselves in the story. He aims high, but does not seem to notice how far he has missed his mark.

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Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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