Review By Felicity Huxley-Miners
Abigail opened this week at The Bunker, London’s newest theatre in the heart of London Bridge. Despite having been open for just four months 110 seat venue has already made an impressive splash in the Capital’s theatrical scene. It’s first production Skin a Cat transferred straight from the VAULT festival in October last year to much fanfare and acclaim paving the way for the venue to go from strength to strength in it’s inaugural season which culminates with Abigail, a drama charting the destruction of a relationship between a man and a woman.
The story opens in Berlin, a place playwright Fiona Doyle knows from her university days, and darts between key moment’s in this couple’s journey. At the heart of their problems are two people who can’t or won’t listen to each other. The Man, played with simple sincerity by Mark Rose, argues that people don’t want to be loved; they want to be saved. Over the course of an hour we watch the push and pull as their relationship shatters before us in an unspecified timeline outside of reality. Tia Bannon’s Woman brings new life to a well told story, her vulnerability clashing magnificently with the neediness that begins to fuel the perpetuating cycle of abuse. We are asked how we would take control and watch as these two people grapple as loose theirs.
This does not make for easy viewing; the audience are forced to engage, to sit up and pay attention to the chaotic, fragmented writing of Papatango Prize winning Fiona Doyle. A post-match analysis is actively encouraged at The Bunker as the bar opens and a variety of events carry on into the evening. The team is working hard to create an experience for all who visit, with comedy evenings, flash mobs and workshops there for all to enjoy and an open, friendly atmosphere abounds right down to some of the comfiest theatre seats in London.
Doyle and Artistic Director Joshua McTaggart have produced an impressive work with blistering emotion and captivating honesty. This is a play to make you think, to question your own life and how you respond to those in it.
Abigail plays at The Bunker until 4th February and with a variety of post show events planned it is definitely well worth a visit to this exciting venue.