When a romantic partner behaves appallingly, they usually come back grovelling and licking their wounds - but in Milly Thomas’ new play Brutal Cessation, this metaphor is taken quite literally.
In a stark, white space, we meet a couple, played by Alan Mahon and Lydia Larson, on the verge of destroying each other. Fantasies of brutal disembodiment shared over, before visuals of the same concept are splattered onto the stage. Stuck in a destructive and violent relationship with no way to escape, Thomas’ new piece of shocking writing explores the effects of a decaying relationship.
The two hander is performed excellently by Mahon and Larson, with Mahon’s often soft performance being crushed by the weight and discomfort caused by Larson's unhinged monologue. Swapping roles 40 minutes in is a bold, choice - flipping any gender preconceptions on their head - yet causes mild confusion as the pace of the performance and eloquence of speech decrease into mere monosyllables.
Adding to the Sarah Kane like descriptive powers of Thomas are the intensely violent images in Bethany Pitts direction - witnessing the reenactment of Larson’s savage fantasie by way of a watermelon, and seeing one partner prove his love by licking the blood from a wounded leg. A tough play to stomach, but one that is fearless in its exploration of violence.
4 – 28 Aug(not 14), 16:20