‘Beresford’s performance is an absolute wonder’
Martin Murphy’s play Victim looks at the complicated and fragile relationship between a prison guard (Tracey) and an inmate (Siobhan), both played by the superb Louise Beresford.
The play opens with Beresford introducing the audience to the slightly frantic prison guard Tracey, before changing character and all mannerisms to introduce Siobhan, a self-assured, intense inmate at the prison that Tracey works at. The transition between characters is seamless and Beresford’s performance is an absolute wonder. Her depiction of both characters makes you forget that you are watching one actor portray both people, a testament to Beresford’s skills as an actor.
Murphy’s writing is also excellent. His storytelling is simple and bold and allows the audience to really connect to the characters stories. The writing, while not expressly theatrical, is very human, which adds a layer of vulnerability to the characters, as they aren’t hiding behind hyperbole and exaggeration. Murphy is showing his audience the visceral truth of these two unflinching women.
While this is a very strong piece of theatre, it fell short slightly when it came to a strong emotional punch. The sub-plot centred around the new, notorious inmate at the prison is a thought-provoking idea, but having Tracey and Siobhan tell that story from their point of view left me wanting to know more about the inmate and also detracted from Tracey and Siobhan’s own lives.
Overall though, this is a courageous and visceral play, led by a standout performance from a really exciting actor.
Presented by Bruised Sky Productions
VICTIM by Martin Murphy
Directed by Martin Murphy
Kings Head Theatre, 115 Upper Street, N1 1QN, Islington
31st March – 21st April
Reviewer Jack Albert Cook is a playwright, based in London, but originally from the sunnier climate of Newcastle upon Tyne. He graduated from Bath Spa with a BA in Drama and an MA in Scriptwriting and his work has been performed at Bath Fringe Festival, Tristan Bates Theatre, Theatre 503 and the North Wall Arts Centre.