The Mancunion

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Review: INSIDE

On the 9th of February, Elise Gallagher visited the Bolton Octagon to see the acclaimed psychological thriller INSIDE, presented by Strawberry Blonde Curls Theatre Company

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Monday night saw the Octagon Theatre (Bolton) open its doors to SBC’s latest production, Inside.

Finding critcial acclaim at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Inside is a psychological thriller exploring the conflicting mind of a kidnap victim suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome is a physchological phenomenon which sees a hostage express empathy, sympathy or in severe cases positive feelings of affection towards their kidnapper.

Both written and performed by Rosie MacPherson, Inside is an hour long monologue manifested with harrowing innocence and realism. Never leaving her character, you enter and take your seats as she sleeps in front of you, you leave as she gazes at the blank camera screen. It is clear that a great amount of research has gone into her performance, allowing her to craft a character riddled with such complexity that makes it a truly exceptional character study.

What was most effective about MacPherson’s performance were the fragments of personality that would expose themselves for only a brief moment. Mere echoes of her old self. Taken as a child and having suffered twelve years of both physical and mental abuse, MacPherson does a superb job of portraying a much older victim taking refuge in their premature childhood.

A pivotal aspect for audience members is the victim’s excitement and obsession with her school disco, a chapter of her life she was never able to experience—further reiterating the sheer innocence of the character. However, the most heartbreaking aspect is the fact that we never discover the victim’s name.

The narrative laced within the monologue is crafted so that our victim’s situation isn’t explicitly revealed all together but is allowed to bleed out from her lucid mind, making for a raw portrayal and keeping the audience hooked.

The Octagon’s Studio performance space was perfect for the production; if situated in a larger theatre the intensity of the performance would have been diluted. Being in such a small audience made for a bigger impact, making spectators feel as if they were intruders prying. The set was just as gritty and real as MacPherson’s character, a mere shell, just like its inhabitant.

Based on true events, Inside is raw and powerful with a truly chilling ending. A show not to be missed.