Face to Face

You are invited to witness a series of intimate moments of vulnerability and loathing between two broken individuals seeking closure from a murder nine years ago. Upon finding out her father’s killer is going to be released from prison early, Emma (Florence Williams) visits him to decide for herself whether the remorse shown in his plea was genuine. Both characters are intricate and encompass many layers, portrayed beautifully by both Florence Williams and Elliot Windsor. We are subtly and consistently drip-fed details of each of their childhoods and the past events which led them both to be face to face in this moment. This extremely powerful and somewhat harrowing performance will turn your stomach, make you wince and leave you shocked, yet you will not take your eyes off the stage for even one moment.

Face to Face is a brilliant, gripping, chilling performance highlighting the internal and external conflicts surrounding murder and asks the question: can we forgive the unforgivable?

Suspense, intensity and tension are vigorously built up through movement, rhythm, the tango and music. The crash of chairs, the stomping of feet, the bang of fists. The tense ambience generated through this carefully timed ensemble of beats makes the moments of silence especially powerful. Making ordinary props extraordinary, in a Stomp-like manner, meant that background music was unnecessary since the two actors had full control of the atmosphere. For this reason, I thought the occasional use of background music detracted from the power and force of the actors, taking away slightly the magic they had created on stage. As well as chairs and tables, photographs of significant people in their lives were used to reiterate the relationships destroyed through one murderous act. These also helped us see through the tough, sociopathic exterior of Scott and glimpse the more human side of his character.

Prepare yourself for some truly horrific scenes recapping every detail of the murder. The reliving of this traumatic event provokes both characters to reflect on the distressing, sadistic but also mundane thoughts they entertained in those moments. No, there is no blood or gory images. Yet somehow the actors are able to unequivocally leave you chilled while holding your undivided attention. In fact, the whole production was gripping from start to finish with the exception of a scene near the end which I struggled to make sense of. However, this was a very short scene only lasting seconds and so did not hugely detract from the effectiveness of the performance. It was the introduction of a young boy and the storyline would have made sense without this part included.

The final verdict of whether Scott is guilty, remorseful, or to blame is not as clear-cut as it may appear at the beginning. Is he a victim, the inevitable product of a damaged childhood? Or is he a cold-hearted killer who can never be changed? I suggest you watch and make your own decision. Face to Face is a brilliant, gripping, chilling performance highlighting the internal and external conflicts surrounding murder and asks the question: can we forgive the unforgivable?

Reviews by Ellie Thompson

Marlborough Theatre


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Rialto Theatre

Face to Face

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The Blurb

When Scott was just sixteen years old, he murdered Emma's father and has, since then, been serving a life sentence. But, with the possibly of it being reduced, Emma visits him in prison, to decide for herself whether nine years inside a cell has changed him. When the two finally come face to face, Scott’s true colours threaten to emerge and an insidious game of cat and mouse begins.