Penetrator ***


C cubed (V50)    


3rd to 12th August

Here is a production by Fear No Colours company of a play originally put on at the Traverse as part of the 1993 Edinburgh Fringe. It says a lot about the skill of writer Anthony Neilson that it still seems fresh and engrossing.

With a set that is little more than a sofa, teddy bears, tea mugs, the odd weapon – plus some much needed tissues, director Julia Midtgard has created a drama which has us on the edge of our seats.

Slacker Max (Chris Duffy) gives up on a game of patience and listens to some porn, getting to the point where he needs those tissues, and in 1993 it probably seemed very daring that he just throws the sticky tissues behind the sofa. Flatmate Alan (Matt Roberts) comes in. He of the teddy bear fetish, and who seems to want to do anything to please max. Why? We wonder.

The tension begins to build when old friend Tadge Tom White) arrives at the door. Tadge has joined the Army, and there is much mixed feeling about this. He tells a story about having run away from the Penetrators, who maybe are connected to the army, who have kept him in a dark room and violently abused him. Do we believe him?

We now have three very different characters before us, and each has a different agenda, though we are not sure of the full agenda of anyone. Much is mysterious, and we have a very good dramatic scenario. The tension does rise till your eyes are glued to that sofa. You are led to wonder who is mature and sorted among these three, if anyone, and what is the sexuality of the three. Are they all straight, or…?

The cast here all perform well and involve us. There is no looking away, even if you want to! This is a gem worth catching.

Tony Challis