REVIEW: Cut, Vaults Theatre

This unnerving show features a strong performance from Hannah Norris, but the story itself feels muddled and unclear. 

CUT, Adelaide 2015, courtesy of Gary Cockburn_9.jpg
Hannah Norris in Cut. Photograph by Gary Cockburn. 

Duncan Graham’s piece of a woman who is being followed or at least she thinks she is, has a power to grip but by the end leaves the audience emotionally drained and as paranoid as the woman herself.

Described as ‘part installation, part theatre poem, part noir thriller’, the production flits around aimlessly and while it provides a fascinating insight into the mind of the character and the conflicts she faces, the audience never gets to know what she is like as a person. Is she naturally paranoid and cautious? Does she have a good sense of when danger is approaching? This means that it is difficult to care whether she is paranoid or not.

The main problem is with the poetic language, which seems to skirt around the issues, adding further to confusion for the audience and perhaps isn’t as effective as it could be.In particular, references to ‘scissors lady’ and fish didn’t seem to have much purpose.

But that isn’t to say that there weren’t elements that worked relatively well. Graham’s production is sufficient in intensity that will keep audiences gripped to their seats, by using constant blackouts and the hypnotic performance of Hannah Norris.

Norris does manage to emerge herself in the character perfectly, convincing the audience of her paranoia, but it still a shame her character feels underwritten and that the production hasn’t been developed more for the audience’s benefit to get an understanding of her background.

As it is only an hour long, there is a swiftness and no messing around attitude to the pacing of Cut – but in turn it can make scenes feel a bit choppy and awkward.

Overall, it will appeal to people who appreciate a different and unique style to producing theatre – it is just a shame that the writing lets it down and loses its way.

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