Death and the Maiden

Review of Death and the Maiden

“An imprisoning night of theatre..”
by David Phipps-Davis for remotegoat on 23/06/08

Ariel Dorfman’s Death and the Maiden is a moral thriller about a woman, Paulina, who believes that a stranger who comes to her home is the doctor who, under a military dictatorship, tortured and raped her many years before. Unlike The Collector, this is excellently written and directed (by the resident director of the Lion and Unicorn, Dumle Kogbara). Alike to The Collector, however, is that it has one blazing star performance at its core – that of Amy Barnes as Paulina. True, her opening contortions to the strains of Schubert were completely over the top. True, she looks far too young to be referring to anything happening fifteen years in the past. But also true is the fact that she gave a brilliant performance running the gamut of emotions – this is a major talent to be watched!

Barnes is given good support by Andrew McDonald as her husband, Gerardo, though he could have lain off the projecting a bit – the venue is tiny and he was, at times, deafening. However, he comes into his own when the Doctor accuses him of not being a real husband – you really believe he might cut his balls off! As the doctor, James Clossick was weaker than the other two, giving a somewhat bland performance in what could be an equally compelling role. However, this certainly didn’t ruin what was otherwise an excellent piece of theatre and respect must go to Clossick for remaining on stage so long tied to a chair, with his mouth stuffed with panties and taped shut.

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