So this week The Other Room opened it’s doors for the very first time and welcomed audience members to Cardiff’s one and only pub theatre. Kick-starting their programme with Sarah Kane’s infamous work, Porter’s cinema room has been transformed in to a black box theatre and in turn, a hotel room to create the set of Blasted. Not for the faint hearted or those looking for an easy watch at the theatre, Blasted was uncompromising, intense and raw from the dimming of the lights.
The dark story revolves around an odd couple who escape to a hotel room in Leeds: one older, sex-hungry journalist who drinks gin like water and one vulnerable young girl who can’t stand the smell of meat. A brutal and unhealthy relationship is instantly apparent (especially to those in the front row!) and it soon becomes clear that the violence and power is not isolated to the hotel room as a soldier later seeks refuge also. Sarah Kane’s vulnerable state is reflected instantly and throughout, as things turn from bad to worse and the war rages on and pain is inflicted upon the three characters as desperation, greed, dominance and lust hit hard.
As explosions hit, the space grew and the well-designed studio extended brilliantly to show off the outside terror, causing gasps amongst the crowd. Our window seat view allowed us up-close and personal access to the pain and terror inflicted as each character took it in turn to show off their vulnerable sides and their harsh, more dominant shells. Each performance was incredibly brave with an especially amazing demonstration from the talented Louise Collins as Cate, full of raw emotion and investment in her character.
A proper example of punch you in the gut, makes you want to vomit/curl up and cry in a corner theatre which left me a little shell shocked. An incredible start to The Other Room’s ‘Life in Close Up’ program with brilliant performances from a stellar and brave trio.
‘Blasted’ is at The Other Room at Porter’s Cardiff until 7th March.