Idiosyncratic or irritating? It’s a fine line in Claudia Dey’s pop-gothic thriller, in which everything comes with a side order of zany. There are unborn triplets, freak metal detector accidents and dead Scrabble-champion strippers – and those are just add-ons to a tale of symbiotic twin sisters living in a hermitage. Dey can’t resist a flourish.
Trouble is, neither can young director Matt Steinberg, whose UK debut embellishes the text’s every oddity. What ‘Trout Stanley’ needs is restraint and attention to detail. Steinberg gives it hyperactivity and glitter. On Shizuka Hariu’s jaunty set, the result is a real patience tester.
Each year, Grace and Sugar Ducharme discover a dead body on their birthday. Today is their thirtieth and Trout Stanley (Dylan Smith), who may or may not be a serial killer at the centre of a massive manhunt, has just stepped into their home and fallen head over heels for Sugar (Sinead Matthews). She’s not left the house or changed out of her dead mother’s garish tracksuit in a decade. (Strange it’s so clean and well-kempt.)
She’s supposed to be the quieter of the two sisters: delicate and ‘full of I love yous’. Matthews plays her as a squawking attention-seeker. Grace, played sexy and unhinged by Vinette Robinson, works at a local rubbish dump and models for billboards. Their relationship is framed as protective, but in ‘Trout Stanley’, it looks and feels a lot like imprisonment.
By Matt Trueman