“The vast majority of the people in your life won’t know what you do”
Justine is found dead and her sister Kerry is determined to find out what happened. But digging into the apparently dull and innocuous life that her sibling led reveals that she was in fact an undercover MI5 agent and in her increasingly desperate pursuit for the truth, it becomes clear that nothing is quite what it seems. Dawn King’s new play Ciphers cleverly looks at both the effect that becoming a member of the secret services can have on a person and the fallout on their loved ones when things go more than just a little pear-shaped.
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McIntyre keeps a firm touch on the double-playing though, encouraging her cast to delineate their characters but not too much, and there’s some accomplished linguistic acrobatics to add in a further layer of obfuscation. She masterfully handles the jump-cuts and time-shifts of the script too, through an ingenious screen-wipe technique, enabled brilliantly by James Perkins’ clinical design and the subterfuge of Gary Bowman’s lighting. The scenic structure of the play may feel televisual but there is no mistaking that this is piece best served theatrically.
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Running time: 2 hours (with interval)
Playtext cost: £3.50
Booking until 8th February, then touring to Salisbury Playhouse
Labels: Bruce Alexander, Dawn King, Gráinne Keenan, Ronny Jhutti, Shereen Martin