The Curing Room, Pleasance Dome, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Stripped Down Productions
David Ian Lee (writer), Joao de Sousa (director), Philip Lindley (set designer), David Howe (Lighting designer), Angus MacRae (Composer and sound designer)
Rupert Elmes (Captain Victor Nikolov), Harvey Robinson (Senior-Lieutenant Sasha Ehrenberg), Marlon Solomon (Lieutenant Vasilii Kozlov), Will Bowden (Junior-Lieutenant Lenoid "Animal Killer' Drossov), John Hoye (Private Nils Sukeruk), Matt Houston (Private Georgi Poleko), Thomas Holloway (Private Yura "Yuri" Yegerov)
Running time

When desperation takes over and the tiny remnants of hope are gradually fading away, how far would you go to stay alive?

Inspired by George Steiner's 'Death of Tragedy' and 'Judgement' by Barry Collins, the audience are met with seven soviet soldiers trapped in the meat curing room of an abandoned monastery. David Ian Lee's distressing yet striking play 'The Curing Room' explores the extreme need to survive and the fight for normality.

Not for the weak of stomach, the audience are exposed to a feat of pure animal instinct and cannibalism in order for the soldiers to stay alive.

Southern Poland, 1944 and seven men are thrust into the depths of an abandoned monastery and left to rot. As command begins to unfold and ranking is no longer adhered to, sanity disperses and hunger becomes an increasing problem. The audience watch as all hope seems lost and the men are hurled into an ever-growing nightmare of cannibalism and murder.

Intense from the very offset 'The Curing Room' plummets the characters into a downward spiral ending in something that could be said to resemble hell.

Joao de Sousa's outstanding direction captures the hopelessness of the situation and deftly envelops the trapped and suffocating feeling of the situation.

All actors should be highly commended for their complete and utter commitment to the gruelling task set before them, in particular Matt Houston (Private Georgie Poleko), Marlon Solomon (Lieutenant Vasilii Kozlov) and Thomas Holloway (Private Yura "Yuri" yegerov) who endured the entirety of the play to the bitter end with vigour and passion.

A particularly disturbing yet striking scene involved the almost ritualistic task of the actors covering their naked bodies in blood around a spot-lit bucket after their first feasting which was then added to as half eaten corpses and the heads of fallen soldiers gradually litter the stage.

Holloway's rendition of lullabies at every killing thereafter also added to the chilling atmosphere and brought home the reality of what human instinct had forced them to do.

A stunning and daring exploration of the basic human needs in life, the performance was surprisingly touching and somehow brought rationality to a taboo subject, despite the gallons of blood and gore on offer. Heart wrenching, revolting and down right harrowing, 'The Curing Room' is a spectacular show that should be caught by all who can stomach it.

21-25 August. 12.00pm