Review: Tremor by Sherman Theatre

A powerful portrait of suburban radicalisation in Britain

★★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Tremor, image credit: Burning Red
Published 04 Aug 2018

A door opens and Tom ushers Sophie into his home. Their greeting is hesitant and nervous, but there's a familiarity between them. It turns out they know each other; they're former lovers reunited after many years, with Sophie having tracked Tom down in order to make peace with their past. She's edgy and frantic, while he's relaxed and at ease with the life he has built with his new partner and child.

Yet as she unpicks their shared—and very different—memories of the tragic bus crash they were both involved in, the silent fault line which has existed in the years since they were separated is exposed. Sophie has decided to forgive the person responsible, but Tom isn't so sure. Indeed, what lurks under the surface of his perfectly rebuilt life is something more frightening and certainly more calculated than even the disaster which once befell the couple.

Brad Birch's play is a powerfully constructed house of cards. The complex system of circumstances responsible for its inevitably crushing denouement is laid out from the start. Actors Louise Collins and Paul Rattray are directed by David Mercatali with a sense of urgent intensity – to the extent, perhaps, that the play gains a sense of the melodramatic at more than one point. Yet its well-worked themes of memory, perspective, forgiveness and anger ultimately coalesce into a powerful portrait of radicalisation.