Closet thing to crazy

Closet Land
Radha Bharadwaj
Burton Taylor Studio
Tues-Sat 7.30pm
Rating: 3.5/5

Closet Land is a sinister production exploring an interrogator’s manipulation of a female author believed by the government to have planted anarchistic propaganda into her latest children’s story: Closet Land.

The interrogator is convinced throughout that the author is guilty, but as the play progresses it becomes increasingly apparent that there’s a far darker reason why the author chose to write Closet Land.

The piece is a shocking examination of power and control, and the manner in which the interrogator is able to enter the author’s head. Adam Scott Taylor as the interrogator is fantastically creepy, exuding a sense of power and control, whilst at the same time maintaining a gaiety that is even more disconcerting.

Even at his first entrance, with the author blindfolded, he takes on two personae to menace her with a twisted ‘good cop, bad cop’ routine. He is the remorseful aggressor who in the first instance harms without question and in the second fawns, trying to correct his wrong.

The interrogator’s joviality is mixed in with the occasional slamming of tables and leaves the audience as jumpy and fearful as the author; being led into a false sense of security by his apparent warmth.

Scott Taylor’s portrayal is unnerving and yet shocking, and he captures the audience with the same power of manipulation with which he menaces the author.

Olivia Charlton-Jones as the author was also very successful as the confused and disoriented author. With no idea what she has done or why she is there, her pain, both mental and physical, contrast well with the seeming  joy of the interrogator, adding a disturbing edge to the dynamic.

At times however, her fear slightly missed the mark and felt slightly contrived, seeming to appear in full force and then vanish in the next instant.

For the most part, though, she was very impressive: working well with Adam to create a mesmerising dark scenario.

Closet Land will leave you uncomfortable in your seat and that is exactly what it should do. The interrogator is there to menace the audience just as much as the author, for is this not a piece on the tyrannical repression of the government over their people?