Review: Gripping, intimate and exceptionally powerful performance at Coventry theatre

Mindgame, Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon, Coventry. On until Saturday February 8. Box office: 024 7667 5175.

Being confined in a small space with potential serial killers may not be everyone’s idea of a Saturday night out - or any night out for that matter.

But the intimate atmosphere of the Criterion, especially transformed into theatre-in-the-round, was perfect for this psychological thriller set in an asylum for the criminally insane.

Director Anne-Marie Greene cast the perfect trio of doctor, nurse and lurid murder writer for this Anthony Horowitz play about madness and what lies beneath the surface.

And despite the fearful topic, there are more than a few laughs in the gripping dialogue between Craig Shelton (Dr Farquhar) and Jon Elves (Styler).

Advertisement

But what makes nurse Paisley (Jan Nightingale) so nervous?

This is a plot impossible to know too much about in advance.

What audiences can know is that it is absolutely riveting, right from the start, and that there are magnificent performances from both Shelton and Elves as they plumb the depths of fear, horror and morbid fascination.

For Jan Nightingale there are fewer scenes and more physical action - some of it quite painful.

Advertisement

A bravura performance of exceptional power.

Barbara Goulden