The Knot of the Heart

Sport and fitness
Recommended
4 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

David Eldridge’s latest play is not an easy ride, something attested to by a number of walkouts that occurred during its opening-night performance. I wonder how flattered Lisa Dillon was when presented with the character Eldridge had penned specially for her: Lucy, a posh, selfish mummy’s girl, spiralling indulgently into the abyss, weighted down by toxic maternal affection and a rapidly escalating smack habit.

For the first half Dillon batters us with a brilliant, believable, thoroughly nerve-jangling performance, in which her smalltime children’s TV presenter sets about trashing her life in a haze of heroin and self-indulgence.

I suspect those early departures can be attributed to irritation at the idea that we might be meant to feel sorry for this poor little rich girl. Born and raised in Islington, Lucy has had every opportunity in life and been treated with nothing but love by her doting mother Barbara (Margot Leicester). But here she is, a caustic wit and a certain childish plaintiveness her only redeeming features as she emotionally blackmails drugs, money and affection from those around her.

It’s the second act, in which Lucy tries to haul herself from the abyss,which is the more affecting. With a plausibility born of meticulous research, Eldridge forensically explores how the guilty diet of ‘love’ and nothing else that Barbara has force fed Lucy has turned her daughter into a walking timebomb.

There is something of filmmaker Darren Aronofsky’s harrowing suburban addiction opus ‘Requiem for a Dream’ to Michael Attenborough’s slightly heightened production, in which the sense of Lucy’s inescapable descent is aided by the relentless advance of Peter McKintosh’s rotating set.

But as this long, mesmeric show continues, it rejects bombastic conclusions, settling for a quieter, more chilling exploration of the roots of addiction, the only special effect Dillon’s battered, unapologetic charisma.

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Details

Event website: http://www.almeida.co.uk
Event phone: 020 7359 4404
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