Unless you’re claustrophobic, there’s something comforting about confined spaces when you’re having a hard time. Zach certainly has this instinct, and he’s so traumatised that he’s refusing to come out of the tatty cardboard box that sits on the floor of a dingy bedsit.
Zach was a soldier who saw action in the Middle East. Now back in Port Talbot, he seems to have been forgotten about by most of the rest of the world. Hearing of medical trials in Cardiff that use MDMA to rehabilitate veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, he convinces his friend Ieuan to help him replicate them.
Though the subject is no laughing matter, there are plenty of physical gags that add much needed levity – the large box moving around the stage functioning like a mask is both sad and absurd. There are cutting one-liners, and moments that devastate. There’s a hint of Beckett in the narrative, but this play is much more real and resonant. Though Zach is trapped by his own mind and experiences, the world convincingly carries on outside of his impenetrable cocoon.
David Woods shows a good range of expression considering he spends the whole show mostly covered by the box. We never see his wife Carol, and the most we see of Ieuan is an arm through the door. Both are played by Jon Haynes. Despite the lack of faces, the conversation that unfolds holds the audience’s attention with its combination of wit and poignancy.