Cert 15 | ★★★☆☆
Carmen Disruption asks two big questions: 1) what becomes of a performer who plays the same role over and over again for her entire life, and 2) what happens when a culture becomes obsessed with disruptive, distracting technologies? Prolific playwright Simon Stephens obviously thinks one informs of the other – I’m not so sure.
Thematic discordance makes for a strange and sometimes beautiful mess of ideas. The cast – five rough analogues for the characters in Bizet’s opera Carmen – take it in turns to deliver sharply written monologues, but never directly interact with each other. Everyone is self-obsessed and weirdly isolated, cast adrift in a world of mirrors. The atmosphere is emotionally charged, and the stage emphasises the rawness with naked bricks and a slumbering bull in the centre. The tub-thumping denouement may be overdone, but the writing just about carries it.