(Mark Fisher's article appeared in the Guardian, 2/24. The above video is from the Sydney production.)
Martin Crimp's 2008 play is defined by political movements way beyond the suburban garden of Chris and Clair. No exchange between this professional couple is complete without some allusion to torture, warfare and abuse. The strain on their relationship – which goes from frosty to frigid in the taut performances of Ronnie Simon and Selina Boyack – is a consequence of a social order in which brute power is everything.
The tension that grows between them has the familiar symptoms of jealousy and vulnerability, but its causes are the violence of an inhumane society. When Clair tells Chris to impose his will – just as he is at his lowest, most emasculated ebb – it is a demand that calls to mind the soldiers who have brutalised the population of an unnamed foreign city and of the indifferent capitalist system that has robbed him of his job.
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