Review: The Removal Service

The Removal Service is a visceral debut play from Will Pattle and Alice Briganti but one which doesn’t quite live up to the promise of its first half

“Don’t we have hours until the rich guy comes back”

Will Pattle and Alice Briganti’s debut play The Removal Service is the second play in The Maltings Theatre’s online Spring season (after The Regina Monologues) and offers up a distinct shift in tone. This drama starts off darkly comic as estranged brothers Zeek and Greg set about robbing a house while disguised as removal men but pitch-shifts into something murkier as secrets in the house and in motives are soon revealed.

Chicho Tche’s Zeek and Pattle’s Greg share an edgy, rumbling chemistry that makes the opening of The Removal Service intriguing. Luke Adamson’s direction allows for all manner of questions about this relationship to emerge naturally as whip-smart dialogue peeks into the shadows of modern masculinity and the troubles of shared history. And with a Pinter-esque approach to it all, it is clear there’s no lack of ambition here.

But at the risk of giving too much away, there’s a handbrake turn of twist which lurches the show into different territory where it feels less assured. The accumulated tension is allowed to dissipate and sequences begin to stretch out to unnecessary lengths as more and more stuff is uncoiled even as the finish line is in sight. Simon Nicholas’ set design suits the production well though and to hear the writers talk is to suggest there’s more to come as they explore their voice.

Running time: 80 minutes (without interval)
Photos: Elliott Franks
The Removal Service is streaming until 27th March

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