Falling somewhere between religious confessional and monologue, David Leddy’s first solo stage performance in almost twenty years brings a weight of expectation that he more than matches.It’s breathtaking- a skilful dissection of societal weakness through the prism of marriage, violence and a lifetime of abuse. His soft-spoken narrator Chris wrong-foots the audience at every turn, with a chilling lyricism. He is, variously: a businessman, lover,corrupt politician scrutinising arms deals with Saudi Arabia, father to an adopted abused son and husband who cracks, and slips through the cracks.
Becky Minto’s jarring primary colour neon slabs blink into life like the shards of music by Danny Krass, as the violence from Chris’s past informs his present day, and all but threatens to destroy the future. Of course, amid the horror there’s coffin black humour (he sucks on a Capri Sun orange juice carton after a truly chilling scene, or has a desk transforming into a bed with a Spider Man duvet cover.)
It’s the Everyman qualities which root this struggle against self-loathing in the present-day: his tirades and secrets could be a social media post, reinforced by the masses hitting the ‘like button’,with no real insight into his inner turmoil or personality. The promises he makes to the ones he loves are ultimately as ephemeral and thin as the cherry blossom raining down,and it’s not just Shakespeare’s words, but ultimately also Wilde’s from the Ballad Of Reading Gaol which he evokes: ‘Yet, each man kills the thing he loves’.
Main image with cherry blossom and umbrella: Tommy Ga-ken Wan
At Tron Theatre until April 22nd