Review: Under the Radar at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Friday, 25th March — By Emily Finch

Under the Radar_Old Red Lion

Under the Radar
Old Red Lion Theatre

LEE Stilling is a rising reporter at Time magazine on an assignment to profile Martin Christensen, an enigmatic creator of a home-made submarine. What’s meant to be a puff piece about a kooky inventor turns into a life-altering assignment for Lee.

All those who know the true story of journalist Kim Wall’s murder in 2017 know how the story ends – and it’s obviously not a happy one.

Kim Wall was just 30 years old when she was sexually assaulted, murdered then decapitated by Danish inventor Peter Madsen. He had invited her to his submarine docked in Copenhagen on the premise of an interview. She didn’t make it out alive.

Under the Radar re-examines this murder but it’s hard to see what point Jonathon Crewe’s play is making. He takes us underwater, into the submarine, as manipulation turns to unwanted touching, then to rape then murder, and finally decapitation.

As women, we already know that nowhere in the world is safe.

According to the playwright, he wants to “dissect unconscious bias and misogyny” but instead we are given an almost uncritical insight into the mind of a killer.

To prove this point, some of the audience laugh along when Martin mocks Lee after assaulting her, perhaps not knowing the story is based on real events.

Meanwhile, Lee is portrayed as an anxious adulterer with daddy issues. Gory re-imaginings of true crime are always upsetting. Prospective audience members need to be warned that the play includes graphic depictions of sexual assault and violence.

Nicholas Anscombe, who plays Martin, is astounding in his portrayal of a monster. With a kitchen knife in his right hand, his eyes turn black as his cheeks redden during the climax of the play. He could easily be cast as a villain in a blockbuster psychological thriller.

Crewe’s dialogue is realistic, and the play stays with you but perhaps not for the right reasons.

Until April 2

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