Death and the Maiden
The Sevenoaks School Theatre Company
Ariel Dorfman’s disturbing play Death and the Maiden examines the trauma of individuals and a country coming out of a period of brutal dictatorship where torture was common.
The central character Paulina Salas (Christina Hill) is convinced that a doctor, Roberto Miranda (Roshan Ruprai), who arrives to her home with her husband Gerardo Escobar (Oscar Gilbert) is one of those who tortured and raped her in detention. She is also convinced that for political reasons the new democratic government will not deliver justice so she embarks on her own terrifying solution.
The Sevenoaks School Theatre Company production is generally thoughtful, and has some strengths but overall is disappointing.
Oscar Gilbert gives a measured, very physical performance, being as expressive with his long arms as he is with his voice, for instance at one point holding out his arms in front of himself as if to stop the bullet from a pistol aimed at him. It is illogical but psychologically real.
However, despite his generally persuasive acting and many believable moments from other actors, this is a slightly overheated production. When a character at one point protests about melodrama, she expressed my view. Less would have be more.
Anyone seeing this production will recognise the strength of Dorfman’s writing but will wish that it was given a stronger performance.
Reviewer: Keith Mckenna