The Dance of Death

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'The Dance of Death' doesn't sound like a barrel of laughs but this Strindberg play is, in its own twisted way, almost jolly. The show depicts a toxic marriage and, as the couple claw at each other, it's impossible to look away.

Conor McPherson, a master of bruising banter, has penned this new version and the play feels lighter in his hands. As The Captain (Kevin R McNally) and his wife Alice (Indira Varma) prowl around their new victim Kurt (Daniel Lapaine), the laughs come freely. There's a touch of Del Boy to McNally's blustering and delusional Captain. Although one can sense a dangerous resentment boiling inside him, terms like 'nincompoop' and 'old twit' take the edge off.

Director Titas Halder teases out some startling moments, mainly channeled through the couple's plaything, Kurt. Caught inside their lair, this god-fearing man transforms into a feral beast, rabid and foaming at the mouth. But Richard Kent's set, smothered in dust and cobwebs, isn't quite oppressive enough. And while Alice and The Captain scratch and lash out, they never sink their teeth deep enough into each other – or the audience.

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