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Almost Nothing

Marcos Barbosa
Royal Court Theatre Upstairs
(2004)

Marcos Barbosa aspires to be a Brazilian Harold Pinter. In this, he is assisted by the excellent, characteristically clinical direction of Roxanna Silbert and Anthony MacIlwaine's industrialised sets.

A husband (Ewan Stewart) and wife (Nina Sosanya) whisper sweet nothings in their disjointed bunker-like living room. Their talk soon turns to the shanty town boy that they have just shot "in self-defence".

The boy's downtrodden mother (Lorna Gayle) arrives to accuse and soon recriminations and guilt lead the couple to offer her cash.

When a well-spoken private eye cum hitman (Karl Johnson) appears on the scene offering a certain solution, the temptation is great. To be free of guilt forever is something to ponder.

Barbosa gets under the skin of all four characters with great insight. He also makes strong political meat from the way in which society's underclass may sometimes be a threat but are ultimately expendable.

The direction and excellent acting from all four cast members ensure that this chilling short play will live in the memory for a considerable time.

This review originally appeared on Theatreworld in a slightly different version

"Almost Nothing" plays until 28th February

Reviewer: Philip Fisher