The title of the play ‘The Murder Wife’ portends much expectation about the subject of the evening’s entertainment. Written by John Foster, Directed by Charmaine K. Parkin and Produced by Vicky Semple comes an extraordinary and thought provoking play, produced by Doppelganger Productions.
The topic of murder is very unsettling; and is one which is rarely discussed in every day conversations, or dwelled upon often. Murder is uncomfortable, horrific, unnerving and well, deadly. You only often shudder at the thought of a murder and perhaps question it. Why? There are so ‘whys and many that we could never really understand including their family, their husband or their wife.
The Murder Wife dives deep into the centre of the lives of Robin & Gina and tells a beautifully choreographed story, about the relationship between the couple played by Steve James and Rebecca Alexander. Heavily pregnant, Gina has found out a shocking revelation that her husband, Robin is a murderer. She is caught in the cross fire and dreads him coming home, yet she loves him dearly. She questions everything, she even questions herself and why he hasn’t killed her yet.
The victims were in every way like Gina, she heard it on the news, and they all had blonde hair like her own. Robin’s victims are woman that look like Gina which is understood as the plot unfolds and rears its ugly head of questioning and self doubt within the characters’ anguish.
Robin, the killer, confesses everything. The 6 woman he killed; every detail, from the pulse under his thumbs as he strangled them to the shocked expression in their watery eyes, and his, as they laid there dead. He remembers and recalls their names one by one.
So vivid is his confused mind as he wrestles with justification for his actions to complacency of his ability to commit such atrocities. Robin knew what he was doing, while we, the audience, watch a murderer’s mind unfold before us; his reasoning, his torment, his killing all in a night’s work.
The plot is more a situation; you’re there, straight away in the middle of this horrible situation. You’re sharing the experience; the frustration of the two characters, the angst, the turmoil and their twisted love. The play was exceptional, beautiful, dark and poetic. The two characters never once exchanged dialogue despite being on the same stage, in the same space and even touching each other. It was almost as if the stage was in two, metaphorically.
They were both coming to terms with the truth, dealing with it in their own way, but never actually talking to each other in exchanged dialogue. At one point in the play, both actors recite dialogue about each other, rhetorically, which is acted out seamlessly and easily executed with astute timing.
The Murder Wife was filled with dark poetry, raw emotions and unsettling subjects. It was thought provoking, inventive and original. It covers things you only wonder about, but never actually know. It gives an insight into the lives of the killer and his spouse and their joint but separate shattering of emotions. It’s extraordinary to watch, being so close to the characters, you gain so much of an understanding.
I was captured right from the start, from the very first line of the play. You are submerged in such a conflicting world, that you are there with the characters turmoil of cascading lives, affecting each other and living as one love to the bitter end. I would highly recommend this play, whether you’re looking for an eye opener into the world of murder, or you’re just intrigued as I was. It’s a complete mind bending piece of art.
Words by Natasha Ward
Image courtesy of Doppelganger Productions Facebook