There’s a breathless intensity to Jennifer Roslyn Wingate’s Entropy that grips, at first. There’s an elusive, Pinter-ish menace to her writing, a distinct air of buried secrets and imminent danger that’s compulsively compelling. But over an hour of drama, this energy starts to evaporate.
Entropy sees Sam turn up at Barbara’s door. She’s scared of him, but we don’t know why. Eventually, though, as their conversation develops, it becomes clear why Sam is there and what has happened to him. Brace yourself, it’s not particularly pleasant – abuse, incest, and strong violence all rear their heads in this troubling tale of a traumatic childhood.
There’s a fine febrility to Laura Clifford’s direction, helped by two fierce, frantic turns from Katherine Drury and Lewis Bruniges. Bruniges, a recent LAMDA graduate, is particularly good – his whirlwind, borderline psychotic performance as Sam has an enervating, unpredictable edge. You feel as though he could snap at any second.
But Entropy doesn’t have all that much up its sleeve. Once it divulges its secrets, Wingate’s play is left with nowhere to go. Attempts to ratchet up the drama fail, that promising energy dissipates, and a melodramatic finale is all that’s left.