(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 10/26.)

I spy a danger for the theatre in a new form of chic exclusivity. Because everyone wants to see Jez Butterworth's first new play since Jerusalem and because space is limited at the Theatre Upstairs, tickets are hard to come by. You either have to go online or queue at the box office first thing. Although that may preclude potential customers, Butterworth's play undeniably gains from intimacy. At 80 minutes, it is strange, eerie, tense and, on a single viewing, slightly unfathomable.

At first, all looks reasonably clear. As in previous Butterworth plays such as The Night Heron and The Winterling, the setting is rurally remote. We are in a wooden cabin on the cliffs above a river. It belongs to The Man (Dominic West) who is playing host to The Woman (Miranda Raison). The West figure is a dedicated fisherman who goes into ecstasies about sea trout, which can be caught in profusion on a moonless night once a year. This is just such a night and the capacity to share his excitement becomes a moral test for Raison's character, who appears to be his new girlfriend.


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