An Interrogation

After co-directing Edinburgh Fringe-favourite turned international sensation Six The Musical, Jamie Armatige's latest creative project is writing and directing a promising and suspenseful classic crime drama.

A promising and suspenseful classic crime drama

We start in the interrogation room, two actors sitting at a table, in front of three cameras, the clock ticking on finding a killer's victim, and the stage set. If they act quickly, maybe they can still save the woman who has disappeared and whose life is now in danger. Visually, the police station looks like it has fallen out of Life on Mars, as does the detective's boss, played jovially by John Macneill. The years of cuts to the police and austerity drag us visually back to the 1970s too. However, the multi camera set-up and the minutiae of police procedure remind me more of Line of Duty in tone, with plenty of time spent describing things vividly for the record. We straddle eras of crime drama here.

Bethan Cullinane plays our detective with a hunch to nail, and time slipping away; Jamie Ballard plays a high flying successful CEO, who nobody could fathom being involved in a murder (just look how much he loves and supports his ailing mother). These two performers carry the show on their shoulders. It becomes a real pleasure to watch the push and pull of power and lies, evidence and admissions, in the well paced script. A really good use of naturalism, the time pressure of trying to save this missing woman, really turn the screw in tension.

For such an elaborate staging, however, I want more from the tech and video. I can see some benefits to such use of technology, as I am now able to rest the head that is being held at a funny angle in order to see round the tall person in front of me and look at a screen to watch both actors' faces. However I still grow disappointed at its creative use. This technology is certainly able to draw the audience's focus to key moments but it often simply portrays shots of the room that we can see anyway. Its usage feels a bit as if the production is drawing inspiration from multimedia productions such as Katie Mitchell’s adaptation of Waves, without understanding what made them so effective and transformative.

Nevertheless An Interrogation is a solid well crafted mystery, brought brilliantly to life by Ballard & Cullinane.

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A young detective works against the clock as she questions a suspect who looks like the least likely person to be linked to a murder. He's a devoted son, a successful businessman and a respectable member of society. But as the minutes tick away, the detective starts to suspect that all is not what it seems... Inspired by real events, the debut play from the Tony Award-nominated co-director of SIX: The Musical is a gripping interrogation drama about power, deception, and our perspectives on the truth.

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