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Nightsongs review at Cock Tavern London

The question is why the tiny north London powerhouse bothered to revive this masochistic exercise in Norwegian miserabilism.

Performed at the Royal Court in 2002, when it received a robust kick in from the critics, age has done little to improve the quality of this one-act drama that ends like a garbled Hedda Gabler.

Perhaps it was chosen due to its claustrophobic nature which chimes with the Cock’s incredible intimacy, recently enhanced by better seating.

An agoraphobic young writer (Peter James) wants to stay in while his frustrated girlfriend (Rosalind Steele) is desperate to go out, away from his “bad atmosphere”.

A baby cries, a publisher’s rejection letter arrives, a clock is put forward to suggest the passing of time, but it’s a futile act because it already feels like hours.

Talents are wasted because the production is better than this. An unnerving painting of a baby’s head dominates and spreads a malaise over Jemima Carter-Lewis’s domestic set, while director Hamish MacDougall has a sure grasp on his material, contriving a wonderfully awkward ten minutes when the man’s parents arrive.

Saying little but revealing everything the father (Julian Lamoral-Roberts) is pusillanimity personified while Steele is a voluptuous mass of dissatisfaction, gradually heading towards hysteria.

Production Information

Cock Tavern, London, January 30-February 20

Author
Jon Fosse
Director
Hamish MacDougall
Producer
Good Night Out Presents
Cast
Rosalind Steele, Peter James, Julian Lamoral-Roberts, Stephanie Beattie, Andrew Steele
Running time
1hr
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