Friday, 18 August 2017

EDINBURGH FRINGE REVIEW: Brutal Cessation at Assembly George Square Theatre


Brutal Cessation is exactly what it says on the tin - Brutal. A frank, no holds barred portrayal of an abusive relationship where both characters are struggling to find a way to finally call time on it. 

This two hander seamlessly swaps parts half way through, allowing the audience to watch the same scenes, comparing how you view certain conversations when the abuser is male or female. This is writer Milly Thomas’s second venture at this year’s Fringe alongside her one woman show, Dust, with Brutal Cessation being performed beautifully by Alan Mahon and Lydia Larson. 

Larson, in particular comes into her own during a scene where she describes how much she wants to physically harm her partner, so much so that this is her fantasy. During the scene, you cannot take your eyes off of her, even though you want to because her level of intensity makes the audience feel so uncomfortable, but that’s the point. Mahon is constant throughout, pitching the last big blow out scene perfectly. The duo manage to tread the line of highlighting the fragility and danger of the relationship whilst keeping the audience engaged throughout. The Assemble Gardens ‘The Box’ venue mirrors the piece, feeling a tad claustrophobic during the more uncomfortable scenes. 

With the fast-paced scenes, and effortless of script, the hour was over before I had time to process what had happened. I left the theatre feeling like I wanted answers, or that certain elements were left a bit murky but maybe that was ultimately the desired effect. 

Review by Geogira Rix 

Rating: ★★★★
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