In her play hang, Debbie Tucker Green presents a Britain where the criminal justice system is profoundly different and much harsher in its treatment of criminals. Diveen Henry plays a woman who is the victim of an unnamed crime who holds the power to decide the fate of the perpetrator.

The Crucible Theatre production is executed brilliantly. A plain set of simply table, chairs, and clinically white walls gives way to the emotive performance of the actors. Also on stage are two officials, played superbly by Marianne Oldham and Sid Sagar, in suits donned with lanyards, who throughout the play, try their best to guide and consult the victim, whose life, as we find out, has been desperately disrupted by this crime.

What Tucker Green does so effectively is utilise ambiguity. The gradual revealing of information, the intriguingly vague dialogue and details of past events draws the audience in effectively. Her commanding of pace, in this relatively short 70 minute production with no intermission, is superb and only elevates the effectiveness of the tense storyline. This, with its combination of fleeting moments of dark humour and exploration of themes of bureaucracy in systems of government, provides an effective connection between audience and the three nameless characters on stage.

Special acknowledgement must go to Henry, who executes the role brilliantly. As an actor, she commands the stage, yet her character is vulnerable, angry, revengeful and this dynamic only makes the play more effective in gripping the audience.

As I had a glass of wine in the theatre bar after the performance, I overheard a woman say ‘the simplicity made it stronger’, and I completely agree. A basic set, just three characters and one plot combined with the heavy subject matter and brilliant dialogue makes this play a must see.

4 stars

Image credit: Sheffield Theatres

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