Brimstone and Treacle

Dennis Potter

Brimstone and Treacle

North London, Summer, 1977. As a nation prepares to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee, a middle-class, middle-aged couple struggle to come to terms with the incapacitation of their daughter following a hit-and-run car accident. Out of nowhere, an apparently respectable young man arrives on their doorstep to change their lives forever... A twisted allegory about fear, faith, morality, and the incomprehensible randomness of good and evil. 3.8 out of 5 based on 6 reviews
Brimstone and Treacle

Omniscore:

Location London
Venue Arcola
Director Amelia Sears
Cast Ian Redford, Rupert Friend Tessa Peake-Jones
From May 2012
Until June 2012
Box Office 020 7503 1646
 

North London, Summer, 1977. As a nation prepares to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee, a middle-class, middle-aged couple struggle to come to terms with the incapacitation of their daughter following a hit-and-run car accident. Out of nowhere, an apparently respectable young man arrives on their doorstep to change their lives forever... A twisted allegory about fear, faith, morality, and the incomprehensible randomness of good and evil.

Reviews

The Observer

Kate Kellaway

Be prepared for unrelenting bleakness, and the darkest of laughs: a scoop of the blackest treacle. London has been enjoying an unofficial season of 1970s plays and each has boasted eye-smarting decor. But here, we have the most cheerless lounge yet, decorated with a machine-made sampler that reads "Bless this house". As we are about to discover, the house is cursed.

13/05/2012

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The Stage

Jonathan Lovett

Friend’s baby talk to Pattie sends a delicious shiver down the spine, while his switch from softly spoken charmer to belligerent National Front defender is chilling. I also enjoyed his camp asides to the audience but, in the first half, he is a shade too meek to engage in the same way Michael Kitchen did brilliantly in the TV version. For me the real star was Peake-Jones who beautifully captures a frustrated, lonely housewife also awakened by this smooth agent of chaos.

08/05/2012

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The Daily Telegraph

Dominic Cavendish

Potter ... thought Brimstone and Treacle his best play. Amelia Sears’s revival argues the contentious case for it superbly well; as much as it is of its nihilistic, sclerotic Seventies period, it has stood the test of time both in the quality of the writing and in reminding us how vulnerability combined with credulity can allow extremism to have its wicked way.

04/05/2012

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Time Out

Caroline McGinn

The sense of evil lurking among the china figurines and unfinished sentences is so potent, watchable and subtly achieved that it's almost a shame when it's spelled out. When Martin enters he comes with broad winks to the audience, flickering light bulbs and thunderclaps. This very '70s idea of the devil incarnate is the only part of Potter's play that seems dated - what was once taboo is now kitsch and over-referenced. And during scene changes, when Matti Houghton's Pattie writhes around in bed to a blaring punk soundtrack, it looks worryingly like Sears's intelligent production is going to turn into 'The Sexorcist'.

14/05/2012

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The Evening Standard

Henry Hitchings

A grotesque yet absorbing black comedy, into which are mixed moments of bigotry, fantasy and spiritual angst. This is a provoking study of sadism, repression and the possibility of being politely wicked. There’s more than a whiff of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane in its portrait of a creepy, attractive interloper.

08/05/2012

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The Guardian

Lyn Gardner

Thirty-eight years after it was written, the play seems something of a period piece – less shocking and perhaps less brilliantly written in Amelia Sears' revival, which doesn't quite manage the balancing act between the naturalistic and the symbolic. Sears and designer Alex Eales do, however, capture all the dreary suburban misery of the Bates' home, where even eating a sandwich is an act of aggression.

08/05/2012

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