Hang by Debbie Tucker-Green.

Entering the auditorium at Tower Theatre, you are immediately submerged in the detainment facility. Handed a coloured lanyard and security pass, which you are instructed to wear at all times, along with an information sheet explaining the colour-coded lanyards.

The atmosphere is unsettling at first, as you are scanned before entering and audience members look at each other in intrigue as you try to decipher what’s about to take place.

Unusually, the Theatre auditorium is divided into three observation areas surrounding the centre stage area where a table and four chairs are positioned on a circular raised stage.

Two members of staff welcome the visitor. A lady between 30-40 and proceed to nervously and at times annoyingly ask her if she would like a drink and continued to do so throughout to break up the awkwardness of the situation.

The exact nature of the crime is never fully disclosed. However, the intense detail of the impact the historical events have had upon the family is enough to understand why the perpetrator is awaiting the death penalty.

Valerie Paul-Kerry gives an extremely powerfully controlled performance, holding herself together throughout the meeting. Dealing with hard-hitting facts and not allowing the detainment staff to placate her pain by empathizing when they truly have no idea of the trauma the family has been reliving day to day.

Sara Odeen-Isbister and Henry Sharples frustrated me as they bumbled around the paperwork that needed to be signed, picking up the minor issues of not having glasses for the water bottle and a general lack of understanding for the victim. The character’s lack of professionalism at times suggested that the pair rarely dealt with the death penalty paperwork.

The moral questions surrounding the death penalty are never raised or questioned. As Paul-Kerry shakes uncontrollably while signing the paperwork after choosing her preferred method to kill the perpetrator, it is clear that the decision has not been taken lightly.

The cast of three brings a very hard hitting and thought-provoking subject to stage. Writer Debbie Tucker-Green’s research and sensitivity make the topic bearable. With the centre circular staging revolving throughout the discussions, you can watch all three characters’ reactions and feel part of the decision.

For more information on this production and future performance at Tower Theatre Stoke Newington please use the link below.

Four Stars



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