Saturday, December 09, 2006

“Frozen” - December 2006

This emotional tale of a mother whose child has been abducted and her child’s abductor was never going to be an enjoyable experience and it was every bit as uncomfortable and painful as expected - but in a good way.

The subject matter isn’t the kind of thing I would usually go for, but having seen Rapture Theatre’s previous productions of “Damages” and “The Collection” in recent years we knew the quality would be pretty much guaranteed. “Frozen” centres around three characters - the fraught mother, the abductor and a psychiatrist studying the criminal mind. The characters of Nancy (the mother) and Ralph (the abductor) are given real depth by the actors and the moment when they finally come face to face is spine-tingling. The first half of the play is almost entirely a series of monologues and at times it can be heavy going but it’s due to the intensity of the subject and the performances rather than a problem with the dialogue, but I really could have done with the interval being 20 minutes earlier than it was. It may be okay in a main theatre setting but in the Citizens Circle Studio my back was telling me it was time for the break long before it was. Indeed the play as a whole was possibly slightly overlong and for me the subplot of the psychiatrist’s backstory could have been jettisoned without damaging the focus of the play. My only other real criticism was that the writing of the paedophile was pretty simplistic, “by the numbers” and comformed to type, and with a lesser performance this could be a major problem.

The set does an excellent job of creating the required atmosphere but was really a bit on the bright side - and combined with the intensity of the show I’m sure I wasn’t the only person who left with a bit of a headache coming on.

One last thing - it's not like me to want to include a content warning (although Rapture themselves say it's for "audiences over 14 years old and for those not easily offended") but the language here is at times thoroughly unpleasant - not just the content but the offensive manner in which it is delivered. Not a bad thing in my book as it's completely in context, but some may find it more than they are happy to take (and not just those who are "easily" offended).

Overall this was a great show which was clearly well received by the sell-out audience, and you can be sure we’ll be back to see Rapture’s staging of “The Glass House” next year - which also sees them move to the main theatre in the Citizens for the first time.