REVIEW: Black Mountain (Roundabout @ Summerhall) ★★★★

Black Mountain by award winning writer Brad Birch is a sinister thriller about relationships, betrayal and revenge produced by Paines Plough, Theatr Clwyd and Orange Tree Theatre.

Rebecca and Paul have come to a remote cottage to try to mend their relationship following an unspoken incident. They are tense and overly polite, tiptoeing around each other as they settle in to their separate bedrooms, find their way around and go for supplies. As the days pass, strange things happen: a dead bird appears indoors; an axe goes missing from the woodshed; the shower turns itself on; a stranger appears in the night. Paul is bitten by insects, gets a huge splinter in his hand and suffers blisters after a walk up the hill. At the top of the hill, Rebecca darkly announces that she needs him to hurt as much as he hurt her. The use of smoke and blackouts add to the atmosphere along with the actors appearing and disappearing through the three exits from the stage.

Katie Elin-Salt is chilling as Rebecca, the wronged woman. Hasan Dixon is Paul, ready and willing to atone for his sins and becoming ever more vulnerable as the days go by. Sally Messham, is the mysterious Helen, appearing in the darkness with questions for Paul.

At the end of the 70 minutes, you’re still not entirely sure what has gone on but there’s certainly food for thought here with a few jump out of your seat moments along the way.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Jonathan Keenan