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Hang review at the Other Room, Cardiff – ‘taut and skilfully performed’

Anita Reynolds, Alexandria Riley and Seren Vickers in Hang at the Other Room, Cardiff. Photo: Kieran Cudlip Anita Reynolds, Alexandria Riley and Seren Vickers in Hang at the Other Room, Cardiff. Photo: Kieran Cudlip

There is no time for niceties in Debbie Tucker Green’s Hang. The play about the death penalty, which premiered at the Royal Court and is here receiving its regional premiere, tears into bureaucratic double-speak. Platitudes are peeled back to reveal the things normally subdued: our instinct for revenge.

Director Izzy Rabey’s production is confident in its use of heavily felt pauses. Large sections of the dialogue are delivered with the actors directly facing the audience, implicating and inculcating them.

Anita Reynolds as Three, the central character of the piece, conveys much through minute movements. The smallest repositioning of her chair and the left hand that shakes constantly like a kettle reaching boiling point act as warning signs for the later explosions of emotion. Alexandria Riley and Seren Vickers as One and Two are a great double act, fussing and flapping around Three like nervous flight attendants.

The design by Amy Cook and the sound by Jonny Patton are understated, but contain a few clever touches. On the odd occasion that Three is left alone, the corporate glare of lighting switches so that long shadows lurk behind her.

The Other Room isn’t afraid of an uncomfortable play, and this one powerfully utilises the small performance space. Like its staging of David harrower’s Blackbird, Hang is both a tense and, ultimately, sad piece – though Tucker Green’s balance of present and past frustratingly stops just short of being truly devastating.

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Taut and skilfully performed regional premiere of Debbie Tucker Green’s exploration of justice and revenge