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Cut sends chills up the spine

Festivals

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Cut is a taut psychological thriller written and directed by Duncan Graham and performed solo by Hannah Norris.

With a limit of 18 audience members in a narrow room, set up with close seating and airplane-floor strip lighting, an atmosphere of intimacy and involvement is created immediately upon entering.

The play starts with pitch darkness and total silence plunging the audience into confusion and anticipation. A tiny light and a barely visible grey image appears, sending the first of many chills up the back of the spine.

Norris (from previous Fringe show My Name is Rachel Corrie) plays an air hostess preparing for work, putting on face after face, not knowing who she really is. The bright cheery facade of her work persona is contrasted with her darker fear – real or imagined? – of being stalked by a mysterious man with eyes of ash. Yet she does not avoid him completely. Is she the victim or is she the hunter, spinning her web?

The audience is drawn into the narrative of key stories in her life and left to put the pieces together.

Norris is able to switch from bright and breezy to dark and scary in a convincing performance. She engages the audience for the duration and leaves room for thought. Her silent but rapid movements in the darkness keep the tension throughout.

The lighting by Sam Hopkins almost steals the show, creating subtle and rapid changes in mood. The creepy, metallic soundtrack also builds a disturbing, eerie atmosphere.

Cut is a highly recommended piece of live theatre, well acted and produced, which is both engaging and challenging.

Cut is playing at The Manse, Holden Street Theatres, until March 14.

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