Jerwood Theatre Downstairs at the Royal Court, London SW1
Opened 7 November, 2001

*** Strangely un-gripping treatment of an emotive subject

Rebecca Gilman's play about stalking has all the caution and consideration that real-life stalkers don't.

After two awkward dates, New York cultural journalist Theresa (Katrin Cartlidge, making a welcome return to the London stage after several years) is unable to shake off the increasingly disturbing attentions of Tony. Even when the police become involved, matters continue to escalate until she is driven into hiding.

It is a hot topic, and one on which there can't really be two schools of opinion about the rights and wrongs. However, Gilman also portrays the unreasonableness to which this stress drives Rebecca, the combination of concern and misjudgement in her colleagues' conduct... every conceivable angle is covered, with equal thought and sympathy, but the end result is to strip the play of almost all force. The writer approaches the subject as if she were defusing a bomb fitted with a mercury tilt switch: any slight imbalance, and boom. But in this case, the absence of boom is a bad thing.

Fine performances by Cartlidge, and by Karl Johnson and Lucy Punch (reprising the appealing ditsiness of her Elaine Robinson in The Graduate) in supporting roles, cannot fire up a play which is so determined not to be fiery even about such a subject as this.

Written for

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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