Old Red Lion, London EC1
Opened 25 October, 1990

The Hebridean croft setting is doubly convenient for Claire Schrader's first play. It means that fraught Home-Counties Mary, loopy daughter Helen and horny-handed local Alec can be fortuitously penned in by the elements, creating the requisite seething cauldron of inner tensions; and that a couple of characters from Gaelic mythology can be pressed into service to pass comment on their antics. The latter look impressively eerie, but sound quite incomprehensible. The earthly action is hampered by Schrader's compulsion toward dramatic shapeliness: each character in turn begins to face up to a skeleton in the closet, and even the opening and closing sequences have a laboured symmetry. The token weirdness of hag and seal-woman fail to counteract the slavish adherence to the conventions of the country house psychological thriller.

Written for The Independent.

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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