Taio Lawson’s revival of Debbie Tucker Green’s 2015 play Hang is incredibly tense. The incessant hum of the air conditioning, the flickering of the motion-controlled fluorescent lighting, even the solitary goldfish swimming in a tank, all contribute to this sense of increasing unease.
Rosanna Vize’s impressively sterile set design and Dan Balfour’s eerie sound design add to the intensity. The tension builds slowly though. A woman is called in to an office to make a horrific decision: how to execute the man who committed a brutal, if unspecified, crime against her.
Even at just an hour long, Hang is a slow-burner. Much of the first third of the play is filled with passive-aggressive banter between Marianne Oldham and Sid Sagar, who play the corporate duo tasked with talking Diveen Henry through her decision.
Oldham and Sagar handle the rhythms and flow of the staccato text well, but it’s Henry who is the main focus and she’s superb – trembling as she pours a glass of water, flinching as a welcoming hand is extended towards her, radiating anger and trauma.
Hang really catches fire in its last 20 minutes, as Sagar casually runs through the method of executions with all the panache of a car salesman. It’s here that the surreal horror of privatised capital punishment is brought home – a world that may not be too far away from ours. A taut and precise production of an appallingly resonant play.