Review: Kompromat, VAULT Festival

Entertainingly compelling throughout, I enjoy the macabre thrills of Kompromat at the VAULT Festival

“Do you feel safe with me?”

The term kompromat might be much more familiar to many a Bodyguard viewer nowadays but in David Thames’ play Kompromat, it is real-life drama that has provided the key influences. Riffing off of the still-unsolved 2010 murder of GCHQ agent Gareth Williams, he explores a world of secret agents, scientists and subcultures and the lengths we’ll go to to protect what we think is ours.

Running at a taut hour and needing to pack a lot of story in, Peter Darney’s production manages deliver a pulsating powerful drama. As Guy Warren-Thomas’ shyly retiring Tom starts to bloom as he discovers the seedily seductive side that London life possesses just below the skin. And guided by the raffish sexuality of Max Rinehart’s Zac who lavishes attention on him, he can’t quite believe his luck,

Too good to be true? If you’re familiar with the scarcely believable details of Williams’ shocking demise, you know full well that it is. And Thame suggests an intriguing motive for Zac’s double life, one which perhaps occasionally pushes at credibility but nowhere near as much as Bodyguard ever did. And the result is something that is entertainingly compelling throughout and reminds you that your mum really was onto something – don’t talk to strangers!

Running time: 1 hour (without interval)
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Kompromat is booking at the VAULT Festival until 3rd February

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