Theatre Review - Frozen

Blueprint Theatre’s welcome revival of Bryony Lavery’s 1998 play follows the intertwined fates of three characters dealing with the brutal murder of a ten-year-old child.

In 1980, Nancy’s daughter Rhonna disappeared on the way to visit her grandmother. Ralph is later found guilty of her murder and six other children. He is discovered with a stash of paedophile porn videos in the lock up shed where he buried his victims. Agnetha, an American psychiatrist, suffering her own bereavement, comes to England to study Ralph and his motives. Agnetha compares the criminal mind to the “arctic frozen sea” and describes the emotionally detached Ralph as “icebound”.

Lavery’s laying bare of her three characters psyches is insightful and compelling to watch. This beautifully spare production allows the full force of her writing to take hold.

Ian Brown draws out terrific performances from the small cast. Sally Grey conveys all the anguish and fury of a mother who has lost her child to a monster. As her marriage falls apart, she struggles to connect with her older daughter. Mark Rose is terrifying as the unrepentant Ralph whose only regret is that “killing girls is not legal” while Helen Schlesinger also impresses as the cool, measured psychiatrist, adept at analysing others, but falling apart inside.

Lavery’s unsettling work has lost none of its resonance. The issues she explores are as vital as ever and this first rate production is not to be missed.

Running at the Park Theatre until 11 April

Originally published by Camden Review