Review: Angel In The Abattoir

Angel in the Abattoir
Angel in the Abattoir
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DAVE Florez is celebrated for his “dark and redemptive,” prize-winning dramas, and for his collaborations with Phil Nichol who, as the eponymous Angel, holds us spellbound during this journey into the heart of darkness.

* * * *

Gilded Balloon, Teviot

There is no fourth wall: Angel is in our faces, verbally and physically, especially when he instigates a manic game of catch with a gym bag.

If that seems an odd start to a tale of ruined lives, know that Chekovian rules prevail. The bag’s contents will prove haunting, and our handling of it implicates us all.

This monologue chronicles Angel’s lifelong love for Lorna, who’s used and abused by every adult she encounters.

Locked into Angel’s perspective, we don’t feel Lorna’s pain vividly, but his. He cannot rescue her, and his impotence becomes deadly rage. Clearly Florez wants us to contemplate the genesis of male violence, and he manages to offer a believable explanation.

Despite a heartfelt performance from Nichol, the abuse story feels over-familiar and manipulative.

It’s not clear what’s gained by making Angel Spanish, beyond the opportunity to throw in right-on references to immigration. There’s already so much food for thought here — did it need to be so highly spiced?

Until 31 August