Threads, written by David Lane, imagines a world in where ‘there are these invisible threads stretching between lovers and husbands and wives and couples’. The two-hander is the story of what happens should one of those threads be broken, as it is in the case of Charlie (Samuel Lawrence) and Vic (Katharine Davenport), and the play asks what happens when you can’t let go. When Vic leaves him, Charlie becomes a medical mystery, and lays in wait until she gets returns.
Directed by Pamela Schermann, with the set and lighting designed by Jo Jones and Rachel Sampley respectively, literal threads are bound across the ceiling. The small space of The Hope Theatre is utilised well, with a small settee and kitchen set up in the corner, and a window frame bound to a wall. The dark interior of the space works well with the sombre tone of the piece. The ‘threads’, at precise points throughout the piece, electrify and light up signifying the connection between the pair. This visually adds to the emotion of the characters and helps bring to life the concept of the writing and the supernatural and scientific elements of the play.
Unfortunately, the two performance don’t quite chime with each other. Katherine Davenport, playing Vic, is prone to over-deliberate histrionics, and although the character is not supposed to be particularly loveable, it’s arguable whether she’s meant to be this unbearable. In the beginning, Vic’s frosty exterior and refusal to engage with Charlie makes her wholly unlikeable, and with the frantic running and the consistent panting, Vic’s vulnerabilities are clouded by movement. Towards the end of the piece moments of calm become more frequent, and sincerity and substance shine through. Samuel Lawrence as Charlie is more restrained, although playing a dead man walking helps with this. He oozes desperation and his longing for Vic is evident. He’s almost neurotic, and the audience want more for him than Vic is willing to give him. In rare moments of tenderness the pair shine together, rather than when they angrily hurl jibes back and forth.
Overall, Threads is an interesting concept; however, it is bogged down by a heavy and angsty atmosphere. With its dystopian futuristic vibe, it is like watching an episode of Black Mirror, minus the biting social commentary. Throughout the piece there is very little sense of it building up to much, and when the play ends in the same place it begins, it’s as though the characters haven’t progressed at all. It does, however, explore some universal topics, such as love and loss, and is theatrically thrilling in places.
Threads is playing at The Hope Theatre until April 29.
Photo: Lidia Crisafulli