Theatre review: Steam

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Beginning with a blast of – God help us – interpretive dance scored to gloomy drum and bass, Steam initially sets alarm bells ringing.

Rating: ***

Venue: Greenside @ Infirmary Street (Venue 236)

Are we about to be subjected to yet another assault of earnest youth theatre? Well, yes. But in an acceptable way.

It’s a kinetic drama about a young couple, Eve and Tommy. Clingy and over-sensitive, Tommy is paranoid about Eve’s relationship with her ex, Frank. Eve feels suffocated by Tommy’s jealousy, but gradually we discover that something far more serious is troubling her.

Encircled by a writhing Greek chorus voicing her disturbed inner thoughts, Eve unravels as dark memories of Frank bubble to the surface. Her head aches. Her nose bleeds. She pushes Tommy away, as he pleads with her to explain what’s wrong.

It’s an intense production. Sometimes that relentless intensity feels exhausting, overwrought. Writer Dom Luck occasionally can’t resist the kind of staccato dialogue that’s supposed to denote inchoate emotion, but which instead sounds mannered. But he obviously has talent.

The young cast are wholly committed to this sweaty, physical piece. In the role of Eve, Rosa Caines is especially strong; her anguish feels authentic. Steam is quite impressive, if uneven.

• Until 20 August. Today 7:40pm

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