Monday, 18 April 2016

Review: X at the Royal Court

Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs)
Reviewed on Thursday 14th April 2016

What would you do if you were stuck in space? No communication with Earth. The same walls, same faces and same dried foods forever. This is the premise of Alistair McDowall's new sci-fi piece at the Royal Court.

Vicky Featherstone's ominous, claustrophobic production starts off well, skipping backwards and forwards in time to show us how the crew are dealing with their life altering situation, before descending into complete chaos. It's a play that certainly has people talking and quite rightly caused a stir amongst critics and audiences alike - particularly in the mind bending act two. You need to concentrate, and could very easily draw a completely different theory to the person sitting next to you - but this is what makes 'X' so compelling - what is actually going on?!

The cast of six do an excellent job of McDowall's mainly naturalistic dialogue, with Jessica Raine leading the company with an energetic drive. There's also good work from James Harkness and Ria Zmitrowicz, who bring out a subtle humour in their respective roles.

It's a terrifying prospect - being left completely alone in the unknown - and Featherstone's production emanates this with some truly nail biting moments, accompanied by a tense atmospheric score. X has the components to be an unforgettable thriller, and there's every chance you'll still be mulling it over for weeks to come. Now, hurry back from space Tim Peake - it's a lonely place out there.

Reviewed by Oliver Dowdeswell

X runs at the Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs) until 7th May 2016.
Please visit for further information and tickets.

Photo Credit: Maniel Harlan

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