Man Across the Way
UNDERBELLY (VENUE 61)
BEHIND the faceless faade of the surveillance police are some shocking secrets. In his new and topical play, writer Oliver Emanuel looks at the consequences of police power within a revenge culture.
Fraser (Grae Cleugh) and Dougie (John Milroy) are archetypical coppers - they like football, laddish banter and working long hours. Oh, and torturing the man they're secretly holding captive in their apartment. All this happens after Dougie's wife Sal (Harriette Quarrie) is caught in the London terrorist bombings, whereupon Dougie becomes convinced that the "man across the way" is responsible.
Quite why remains unclear. Is it because of the colour of his skin? The fact he went tap dancing with Sal? Or some other reason?
The point of the play seems to be that there is no reason - Dougie is merely the embodiment of indiscriminate prejudice at its most potent.
However, story-wise this is problematic and doesn't give Emanuel enough chance to really explore the issues he sets out to tackle. Fraser ends up joining the army to go to Iraq and show them "how things are done". It's a scary prospect, but unfortunately one that doesn't feel unlikely.
But moments such as this resonate well, as do lines such as "there are twice as many bullets as people in the world".
Sal also provides a well-placed addition to a play otherwise male dominated in cast and attitudes.
However, what starts off as a brave script ends rather cryptically.
Until 26 August. Today at 4pm
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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