Monster ★★★★★ Park Theatre | Jul 27 - Aug 20, 2022


Monster confronts a subject that confounds most of us. When children commit shocking acts of violence we are left with questions like what caused this and what is the appropriate way for society to deal with it? Author, Abigail Hood, says her work asks the question: "are people born evil, or do they become evil as a result of their upbringing?" However, the play also reflects on the knottier issues of what is justice in such instances, and what allows some people to live with trauma while others remain trapped by it. This is not an easy piece to watch, but it is riveting theatre that is brilliantly acted. Hood herself is both charismatic and terrifying as Kayleigh Grey, and Caitlin Fielding creates a completely credible 14 year old Zoe Douglas, fascinated by her friend's daring and willing to share a fantasy of escape from their current lives. Emma Keele as Rebecca Hastie does an extraordinary job of creating empathy for the naïve teacher and then tortured mother who loses her child. This stellar trio are well-supported by Gillian Kirkpatrick as the psychotic Hazel Grey, Kevin Wathen as the bereaved Steve Hastie, and Kevin Tomlinson as supportive John Parker. The set is spare and Kevin Tomlinson's direction is crisp and uncluttered, allowing the characters and the dilemmas posed by their behaviours to take centre stage. This is not the theatre of distraction; it is intense, thought-provoking, and not to be missed.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Ben Wilkin.

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