The Wrong Man review at Pleasance London
As the play opens, a suspected informer sits hooded and tied to a chair. He is surrounded by three IRA interrogators while a knife, hammer and pair of pliers lie menacingly on a side table.
Written by Sinn Fein’s former director of publicity, this bleak, harrowing drama is set in 1984 when the British goverment was trying to paralyse the IRA by flooding its ranks with informers. The opening scene is particularly gripping and Tony Devlin is especially frightening as the most vicious interrogator.
Frequent flashbacks show how a series of simple mistakes and human foibles probably lead the IRA to the wrong man and also enable us to see the terrorists as ordinary people. Diehard Raymond – a good performance from Brendan Mackey as a man who has convinced himself to do whatever it takes – argues with his neglected wife over breakfast while the hooded man, Tod (Chris Patrick-Simpson), can’t resist the ladies. There are even odd moments of tenderness between Raymond and Tod as they wait to assassinate British soldiers.
The play is as much about a struggle to maintain humanity as it is a thriller about betrayal. And a conversation between Tod and Raymond’s wives – promising London stage debuts from Chantelle Moore and Nuala McGrevy – about the price they’ve paid for their husbands’ principles is also moving.
A lengthy second half RUC interrogation briefly loses momentum but Morrison’s taut dialogue and Sarah Tipple’s understated direction create a sense of real menace and of how it is to live in this kind of warring, divided community.
Pleasance, London, March 12-April 3
- Danny Morrison
- Sarah Tipple
- New Strung Theatre Company
- Cast includes
- Brendan Mackey, Chris Patrick-Simpson, Tony Devlin, Liam McMahon
- Running time
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