Hang

Set in the near future, Hang imagines a world where the death penalty has returned and, with a sinister game-show-like feel to it, the victim determines the fate of the offender. This production, by Yellow Jacket Productions, believably thrusts us into this world, but barely scratches the surface of its potential to engage and affect its audience.

The drama never really builds as much as it deserves to; we are constantly waiting for a climax that never comes

The play has an intriguing ambiguity to it, from the initial confusion as we try to figure out who the characters are and what situation they are in, to the very namelessness of these characters - referred to in the programme simply as ‘One, Two and Three’. The play’s intrinsic ambiguity is somewhat effective in giving Hang a sense of universality - it emphasises that in this dystopian future, this could be happening to anybody. However, it inadvertently results in us feeling slightly detached from the narrative and the characters’ struggle, as we care less about these people we don’t know.

The performances, it has to be said, are generally convincing and committed. The highlight is a nuanced performance from Jessica Flood as Two, the incompetent, try-hard assistant to the commanding One (Kim Christie). Flood artfully captures the eager, nervous energy of a newly qualified official, who knows all the stats by heart, but often still puts her foot in it.

Tiannah Viechwig’s performance as Three, arguably the protagonist, shows moments of subtle and connected brilliance which, unfortunately, is at times overshadowed by a tendency to over-emote and play general emotions rather than specific actions. To her credit, the role of Three is a challenging one, but perhaps more light and shade could have been found within her anger and despair.

Ultimately, Hang reaches a disappointing conclusion. The drama never really builds as much as it deserves to; we are constantly waiting for a climax that never comes. The strong, exciting concept of the play, I feel, could’ve been explored and developed more and if a stronger connection had been built between the audience and the characters we may have felt more empathy towards them.  

Reviews by Oscar Lloyd

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★★
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Performances

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The Blurb

Set in the near future, where the death penalty has returned with a twist. Shot through with dark humour, 'Hang' dramatises the inadequacy of words, and the impossibility of saying or doing the right thing in extreme circumstances. Follow one woman's inner turmoil as she comes to a decision that she must live with forever. She is guided by officials for whom squaring the procedural protocols and human sympathy does not come easily. “Dark, intense and personal, this play is utterly absorbing... ” (ThreeWeeks) Winner of ‘Best Drama’ at Edinburgh Fringe Derek Awards.

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