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Big Guns review at the Yard, London – ‘bold and compelling’

Debra Baker and Jessye Romeo in Big Guns at the Yard Theatre. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Like Sarah Kane, Nina Segal has the ability to see the tree that grows from the seed, the civil war from the sordid hotel room. With In the Night Time (Before the Sun Rises), she took a screaming baby and extrapolated until the apocalypse was contained in a cot.

Her new two-hander, Big Guns, squeamishly excavates our insatiable clickbait culture and reveals the darkness that lurks in plain sight on our browser tabs. Recipes for no-bake cakes. Make-up tutorials. X-Pro II filters. Torture porn. Beheadings. We are through the looking glass here, and then some.

Debra Baker and Jessye Romeo sit on a sloping stage, bathed in red light and surrounded by a garish litter of popcorn cartons and 3D glasses. They speak through microphones, unmistakeable terror masked behind tombstone grins, racing at the speed of thought through scenario after scenario, each grimmer than the last. Segal’s dialogue flits between them with unrelenting slickness.

A schoolgirl’s anxiety-filled diary. A repressed husband, pevertedly amorous with his Ikea furniture. A Youtube sensation, grotesquely abused below the line. Insecurity, bitterness, narcissism and fear bleed through implacably. It’s sickening, gloriously sickening. And utterly compelling.

Dan Hutton’s bold production grips from the off and refuses to let go. Baker and Romeo are superb, but it’s Segal’s play that leaves the deepest impression. She flips stone after stone, exposing the unnameable horrors underneath. You can’t help but watch.

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A dark, twisted examination of our insatiable clickbait culture