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The Shadow Of Your Hand (24:7 Festival)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Steve (Steven Pinder) brings Maria (Rosie Fleeshman) home to his luxury apartment. She’s young and nervy after a brutal punter; he’s middle aged and even more nervy. He’s rescued her, he wants to look after her but Dark and Dirty’s The Shadow Of Your Hand, is one big old dark, black power play. Full of psychological shifts, the pair’s stories unfold and their relationship develops as their pasts are gradually laid bare. How far will Steve go to keep this rare female company in his life?

Maria’s silent, untrusting, and full of gobby bravado at first. Finding herself in an alien environment is a big shock without even contemplating what she has left behind. She’s viciously mocking to Steve and he takes it. However, he shows he’s not just a bumbling ball of nervous laughter with crap taste in music (sorry Enya!) and obsessive references to Vega$ (late 70s cop show), when he snaps, becomes unhinged and ties Maria up.

Both performances in this double hander are assured and effective. They switch between edgy, sinister, scared and most of all, in control. The power dynamic is very cleverly created in Michael Stewart’s script and well maintained by both actors.

The excellent comic touches are pretty much all in Steve’s lines, including the indignity of losing the Virgin Trains advertising account and the least appropriate time to discuss whisky tasting.

Even at the end, when there seems to be a calm descending and possibly even a future for the pair together, there’s one final and rather chilling twist from Maria…

One word of warning, seating in the venue is only raised round the sides so if you’re in the front section you will either miss some action or risk neck strain trying to dodge similarly dodging heads to see floor level.

- Laura Maley


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