Touch, Alma Tavern Theatre
19 01 2011
When pure evil is committed, we expect the perpetrator
to be a man. So when a woman is involved in sickening
crimes, such as the paedophile ring who met on Facebook
and were sentenced in Bristol Crown Court last week,
it sometimes leads to increased levels of revulsion
Touch, a new play written by Steve Lambert and performed
at the Alma Tavern Theatre, it is a woman who is the ringleader
and who engages in some sickening crimes against another
Rachel (Dee Sadler) is a successful businesswoman. She
dresses smartly, talks well and when we first see her
she helps a young and vulnerable runaway off the streets
Laura (Nic Ryan), the runaway she takes into her home,
isn’t given milk and cookies. Instead, she is chained
up and subjected to brutal savagery as a sex slave.
is helped by Liam (Calum Anderson), a young man who cannot
see the bad in her despite what she does. He follows her
instructions to the letter, but Laura thinks she can find
a hint of a conscience in his confused head.
new play, directed by Lloyd Robinson and produced by Ryan,
can be very uncomfortable to watch. Laura is completely
helpless, an innocent abroad, and we see her as a little
girl in her tender imaginary postcards to her mother,
spoken directly at the audience.
happiness, as she hides the true horror of her circumstances,
is contrasted by the savagery of Rachel. Laura’s
screams as Rachel entered the room for whatever barbarism
she wanted to do next made my skin crawl, while Anderson
played the dunderhead Liam with a hint of humility despite
his own full part in the heinous crimes.
even more claustrophobic in the small surroundings of
the Alma Tavern, Laura’s bedroom prison became all
too real, but we could only imagine the gruesome basement
where she was taken by Rachel and Liam for more punishment.
is a brutally realistic look at a terrible crime. Was
this what it was like for Elisabeth Fritzl or Natascha
Kampusch? Whether or not, it is a harsh window into one
girl’s torment at the hands of two evil yet complex
is on at the Alma Tavern until January 29.