THEATRE REVIEW: Ticking starring Tom Hughes, Anthony Head and Niamh Cusack

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

WHERE: Trafalgar Studios 2

WHEN: 15/10 (matinee), runs to 7/11

Trafalgar Studios 2 has to be one of our favourite theatrical spaces – 80 seats packed tightly around a stage makes for an intimate venue.

In Ticking by BAFTA-nominated writer/director Paul Andrew Williams the venue offers us no place to hide and the atmosphere is unrelenting. Tom Hughes (from TV’s The Game) has an hour to live because he is facing execution in a foreign prison cell for the murder of a prostitute.

He is visited by his parents (convincingly played by both Anthony Head and Niamh Cusack) and we are with them in real-time as their son takes the opportunity to dissect his parents’ middle class lives and the effect it has had on him.

If we had one complaint, it is that Hughes’s character is so self-absorbed he is difficult to like but Ticking is complex and provides us with no easy answers. The central character’s memories of his youthful Oasis-inspired swagger in particular eventually make it easier for us to empathise with him.

We’re so close to the action in the front row that we can smell Hughes and Head’s cigarettes as they face-off under our noses. The unspooling of Hughes’s character is never less than fascinating and played brilliantly. Ticking is a difficult watch but very much recommended.

  • Tickets here. Picture: via Ticking on Facebook.
  • Did you enjoy this review? Follow author Neil Durham on Twitter @NeilDurham.

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