Theatre review: The Murderer

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In theatre company Clown Funeral’s vision of the future, convicted murderers are released into the custody of members of the public for rehabilitation.

Star rating: ***

Venue: Zoo Southside (Venue 82)

We ­witness the developing relationship between one such ­killer (Patrick Tobin) – always referred to bluntly as The Murderer, lest he try to leave his past misdeeds behind him – and his appointed ­carer (Freddie Paul), who ­discovers there may be more to her new ward than his title suggests.

Luke Kennard’s script focuses on small, human moments between the two – The Murderer’s fondness for badminton or dancing, for example – while continually interrupting the two leads with check-ups from overbearing, passive-aggressive bureaucratic institutions (personified by a manic Sam Thorogood).

Both Tobin and Paul play their parts with a measure of distance – neither ever fully lets their guard down – which, while suited to both the narrative context and the stark, unwelcoming set design, means we only ever engage with the play on an intellectual level; there’s ­never an emotional connection. It’s worth noting that this may change depending on what night you go – the five-strong company revolve and play different roles on different nights, so a ­certain combination of players might more successfully get to the heart of the thing.

Until 29 August. Today 6pm.