Welcome! This is your first free article. Get more free articles when you sign up with your email.


“Unsettling look at dysfunctional relationships”

Abigail Hood’s play Spiral takes place against a jagged promenade in an anonymous seaside town.

The seedy associations of such a milieu are taken to grotesque levels in the opening scene. A middle-aged man meets with a young woman dressed as a schoolgirl in order to act out an insidious father-daughter role play. It transpires that Tom’s (Adam Morris) motivations are more complex than mere perversion: he has hired Leah (played by Hood herself) for therapeutic – so he says – rather than sexual reasons, due to her resemblance to his 15-year-old daughter, Sophie, a daddy’s girl who disappeared six months earlier.

It’s uncomfortable stuff. Hood’s writing and the production by Glen Walford and Kevin Tomlinson exerts a grim fascination throughout, strongly played by the cast of four.

An intelligent woman crushed by the emotional, physical and sexual abuse of her abhorrent boyfriend/pimp (played by Tomlinson), Leah is desperately in need of a women’s refuge, not a surrogate father figure. Hood and Morris create a rapport that is Freudian in the extreme, co-dependency based on loss and emotional damage.

The plot fails to convince in places. Even in his wrecked state, it’s hard to believe that Tom, a teacher, would inflict even more injury on his reputation by moving Leah into the family home as soon as his wife Gill (Tracey Wilkinson) leaves, flaunting a relationship that no one else, least of all Gill, could possibly believe to be platonic.

The unexpectedly uplifting ending is perhaps overly optimistic – though to end on a downbeat note would be too much to bear.

Related to this Review

End of the PierEnd of the Pier

Production Details
Production nameSpiral
VenuePark Theatre
StartsAugust 7, 2018
EndsSeptember 1, 2018
Running time1hr 55mins
AuthorAbigail Hood
DirectorGlen Walford, Kevin Tomlinson
Set designerNomi Everall
Costume designerNomi Everall
CastAbigail Hood, Adam Morris, Kevin Tomlinson, Tracey Wilkinson
ProducerPark Theatre, Veritas
VerdictEffectively unsettling new writing that relishes its ambivalence
Add New Comment
You must be logged in to comment.
Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Julia Rank

Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue

Invest in The Stage today with a subscription starting at just £3.98
The Stage
© Copyright The Stage Media Company Limited 2020
Linked In