Cut

Underbelly Productions

Underbelly Med Quad

From 03 August 2016 to 29 August 2016

Rating: ***

Review by Liam Blain

Superb acting, fluid direction and sterling design are all let down by a weak script in Underbelly’s site-specific psychological thriller, Cut.

As you line up to be taken to the mysterious little bunker hidden in the depths of Edinburgh University, you can feel the tension building with every new audience member that joins the queue. However, it isn’t until you are marched into the tiny venue and given your orders by the ominous flight attendant things really start to get creepy. You must ensure your feet stay behind the strip lighting on the floor, 'phones must be switched off and watches that glow are to be removed. Then it goes dark.

For all the hype and build-up at the start of this one-woman show, you can’t help but feel slightly let down by the storyline. Duncan Graham’s script twists and twines over the lives of predators, victims and onlookers but never to any real resolution. The direction of the piece and the utility of the design can not be faulted but as you realise no answers are going to be given on who these people are or how they have got into the awful situations depicted you certainly feel a bit deflated.

Actress Hannah Norris does a spectacular job of not only keeping the audience on the edges of their seats but also of controlling the sound and lighting through a crafty black box as she acts. The constant blackouts and ominous music all add to this thrilling adventure. The traverse set is small but creates the planes and trains beautifully, with each scene transition a different exciting surprise.

Ultimately, the whole piece is clever and you can certainly cut the tension with a knife. However, the flawed script and anticlimactic ending really ruin the whole effect created.