Ordinary Darkness is anything but ordinary. It may be inspired by the humanist question “Everyone gets what they deserve. Don’t they?” but Sarah Robertson’s twisted exploration of idealism and manipulation is more surreal Disney nightmare than faithfully observed kitchen sink drama.
Max, Flic and Becca are squatting in an abandoned building covered in paint splattered dust covers that feel like transparent body bags. Lost middle-class crusader Flic is there because she wants to make a difference while Becca’s just out to have a good time and Max wants them both to feel at home. But the infallibility of their imagined triumvirate is tested when Max brings Mr Banbury, a fat cat banker, back for a party and everyone’s real agendas are revealed.
None of these people is very nice, which could be an issue if it wasn’t for the stylishness and imagination of a production that genuinely disquiets. Script editor and director Stella Duffy crafts an ingenious framework for the violence that underpins Robertson’s difficult play and it is the marrying of childhood things and grown up abuses that packs such a powerful punch.
Ordinary Darkness offers no illumination and is sometimes over the top. But the questions that it poses burrow away through our liberal complacency, highlighting that when it comes to humanity, there are no easy conclusions.
-by Honour Bayes