As with Terrorism, their last play, in Playing the Victim, the Presnyakov brothers have created a world impossible to feel entirely comfortable in, one where you're never quite sure if you're in the realms of dream or reality.
So teaming their writing with Told by an Idiot co-founders Paul Hunter and Hayley Carmichael's particular brand of magical, disconcerting and visual theatre is a stroke of genius by the Royal Court and director Richard Wilson.
Valya's got a job, he plays the victim in crime reconstructions. When not playing dead, he focuses his energy into devising strategies to avoid unpleasant jobs - like washing up - and his ingenious plans always work. If only he put as much effort into living his life.
The process of acting out a crime at the scene seems pretty pointless and silly, as if it's just a way of filling time, and you can't help but wonder whether the brothers are sending up the nature of theatre itself. Every character has their own little preoccupations and it's these trivialities - peeling wallpaper or a losing football team - that keep them motivated in a seemingly meaningless world.
Nicolai Hart Hansen's stark set on two levels with a warehouse interior feel is the perfect environment for the various scenes and, with Colin Grenfall's concise lighting and a few well-placed props, we're never in doubt where we are.
Ian Dickinson's sound design paces the piece, especially in the fantastic scene changes where we witness the teamwork of the cast, resetting the stage and even transforming into other characters, all the while continuing the action.
All the performances are outstanding. As soon as Andrew Scott opens his mouth, the monotonous voice that emerges exudes the apathy that characterises Valya. Hunter and Carmichael are assured and slick, and Amanda Lawrence and Ferdy Roberts excel, the latter portraying several different characters in the same scene. Quite a feat.
Playing the Victim is brave, exciting and elusive stuff. You feel you're being told something important, but it's impossible to pin down. The tour, which started in Edinburgh, continues to five further venues after the Royal Court and you'd be an idiot to miss it. You've been told
- Hannah Kennedy (reviewed at the Royal Court Upstairs)