Actor Sam Ward doesn’t know how close he came to being thumped during the opening performance of Double Edge. His performance as a the predatory creep who keeps returning to terrorise the girl he sexually assaulted (and who found the courage to report him) was so chilling that I just wanted to go onto the stage and make him stop.
Double Edge doesn’t set out to tell one victim’s story – author Zoe McGee wanted to tell the story of every student who’s been assaulted or raped; the story of every girl who speaks out and every girl who stays silent. She underlines the symbolic nature of the characters by basing them on tarot cards (which works well as a framing device) and uses the script to emphasise the role of words, especially in the closed world of a college, to accuse, to damage and to heal.
Gar, the assailant taunts his victim with phrases like “you led me on” and “people won’t believe you” with all the sweet duplicitous reason of the serpent in the Garden of Eden. Meanwhile, female “friends“ reassure themselves that “she fancied him” and that “everyone likes him”, leaving only the White Knight (Ollie Nicholls) to try rescuing The Girl with the offer of “talking – if you want to”.
Double Edge is a very fine piece of writing which opens up a difficult subject with considerable sensitivity and insight. The play is brought to life by a superb cast - as well as Sam Ward (Gar), special mention must go to Lucy Delaney (The Girl) and Thomas Lodge (the Fool), whilst high production values in staging, costume and makeup place Double Edge a cut above the average student production.
Well worth seeing.