Review: Gallowglass, Theatre Royal, Norwich

Florence Cady and Paul Opacic in Gallowglass

Florence Cady and Paul Opacic in Gallowglass - Credit: Debbie Borthwick

Surprises are in short supply in a new adaptation of a Ruth Rendell novel, writes James Goffin.


Theatre Royal,


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Kidnap is at the heart of this twisted tale, adapted from Ruth Rendell's novel of the same name, but the main thing stolen in this production is any element of suspense.

This is a largely flat performance; even some of the sets are reduced to just a projected picture of a train station or stately home. Paul Opacic is the cast's strongest, together with young actor Eva Sayer; their father-daughter scenes are the play's most real.

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Both Dean Smith and Joe Eyre give confused portrayals of their disturbed characters, with Michael Lunney's direction unsure whether to drive them towards deliberate menace, mental instability, or camp comedy. Florence Cady is a beautiful but uninteresting victim; I really didn't care what happened to her.

In theatre you yearn for Stockholm syndrome: to fall in love with your captors, to forget about the outside world. The biggest crime, committed here, is to be bored by them.

Gallowglass continues until February 24.

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