The tone is set before the hapless punters have even left the ticketing area as a couple of faintly menacing ushers pop up and escort you to your floor space in the cuboid gloom, deep in the bowels of Keble College. You're pleasantly off balance but perforce ready for anything as the cast begin to spin their machinations, corralling the audience first here, then there, up the stairs to the quad (thank God it had stopped raining) and down again and rooting through cardboard boxes. And all the while the black-clad players are engaging with themselves and with you in a naturalistic manner as the deceptively casual, ephemeral language rebounds off the walls. The mood and tone swing from the declamatory to the confidential and on to the desperate and then the grotesquely funny and on finally to the denouement, and these changes are all done smoothly without the least clunking of gears.
This is a well-drilled cast who handle their prepared text with subtlety and the inevitable uncertainty of audience ad-libbing with aplomb. And this first night audience gave the show its rapt attention for 100 minutes all the way to the last soliloquy from Ellen, the chief villain (Anna Fox, showing great concentration and flexibility). Rhys Bevan as Uncle Graham was inclined to shout a bit too much at the start but soon settled down. If the script has a fault it's that were the word fuck be excised the play would be a good five minutes shorter, but that's a quibble. I'd specially mention the imaginative lighting design.
Just terrific! On no account miss this show.