Review: Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp., Royal Court

Fancy a new Caryl Churchill play? Well here’s four of ’em. Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. impresses at the Royal Court

True story, I’d intended this review of Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp. to be much more formally adventurous than my usual four paragraphs. But my coding ain’t up to scratch and real life intervened to take up time and so I’m just using normal words and format to express my admiration for this quartet of new Caryl Churchill plays.

Directed by James Macdonald, they’re an often extraordinary combination, circling around ideas of myths and stories with her customary precision and linguistic expertise. Married to the ingenuity of Miriam Buether’s set designs, each cannily different to the other as they loom out of the darkness of Jack Knowles’ lighting, it is a full-on auditory treat. And that’s before we even mention a cast that includes Deborah Findlay and Toby Jones.

Whether ornaments lined up on a shelf (Glass), gods despairing at human behaviour (Kill), friends amazed that one of them was a serial killer (Bluebeard’s Friends) or a family with serious secrets (Imp), we’re constantly taken to a place where every line is charged with significance. Let your attention drop for a second and risk miss devastating underlying themes of abuse and complicity.

Matching the precision of the writing, there’s beautifully detailed work from the ensemble. Findlay is sensational as Imp’s Dot, slowly revealing something terrifying, Tom Mothersdale’s Gods has a fantastic building energy, and Rebekah Murrell’s girl of glass is subtly heart-breaking as her own secrets are teased out. Some of the most exciting new writing around.

Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes (with interval)
Photos: Johan Persson
Glass. Kill. Bluebeard. Imp.
is booking at the Royal Court until 12th October

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