This event has now finished. Until Sep 12 2010

© Tina Engstrom

Time Out says  

Posted: Wed Sep 1 2010

As anyone who saw his play 'Nightsongs' at the Royal Court in 2002 will know, Jon Fosse's writing is all about undercurrents. Hints, ambiguities, thoughts half-formulated but unarticulated - these are the taut wires that connect his characters. In 'Visits', a rarely performed piece from 2000, he turns his intensely minimalist gaze upon a fractured family.

The mother, whose husband left some years before, has a new lover. Her teenage daughter slopes around the house in her dressing gown, refusing to go school or find a job and silently hugging a toxic secret; her brother simmers with rage at his mother's suitor, whom he sees first as a ludicrous clown and then as a dangerous interloper. Gradually. under the strain of unspoken tension, the bonds that hold the family together snap, releasing the youngsters from childhood.

Lars Harald Gathe's production, performed in a semi-derelict space where the furniture, designed by Christopher Faulds, is makeshift, and ominous shadows lurk on the back wall, evokes an expectancy that the play never really rises to meet. In its creeping menace, its unsettling sense of the absurd, its elliptical exchanges and particularly in a charged confrontation between the aggressive young man and the frailer older one, it feels derivative of Pinter. And ultimately it also seems slight, its ponderous attention to nuance disproportionate to its lack of real dramatic substance.

Still, it's precisely acted, particularly by Ami Sayers as the daughter, shoulders hunched, arms folded across her thin chest, terrified of facing the adult world, and by Nikki Squire, torn between pity and enraged frustration, as her mother. There's a certain compulsion in Fosse's forensic interest in the minutiae of the everyday; but here its clinical detachment leaves you cold.

Theatre Delicatessen details


Theatre Delicatessen

3-4 Picton Place, W1U 1BJ

Transport Bond Street 


020 3287 3295

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