Denial

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Denial
© Francis Loney
Clare Cameron (as Jenny Young) and Michael Gecks (as Matthew Young) in Denial

Last year's major revivals of Arnold Wesker's early plays have started to correct his work's overlong absence from London stages.

'Denial' – a clenched, guttural family drama – proves that there is plenty more where that came from. First seen in Bristol 15 years ago, its London premiere is inexcusably late.

Aged 30, Jenny (Clare Cameron) accuses her father and grandfather of sexual abuse. She's newly divorced and her therapist Valerie coaxes a repressed memory out of her. The denials of Jenny's family, however, suggest that her memories have no basis in reality. Wesker tracks down the culture of blame that scoffs at personal responsbility with ferocious determination, avoiding simplistic distinctions of victim and violator.

However, Adam Spreadbury-Maher's production is too judgemental, undermining the play's central ambiguity. Nonetheless, there's real power here, thanks to gutsy performances, particularly from Cameron, and the nicely reconfigured space in the round: twenty times as effective as the venue's traditional end-on set-up.

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