Review: Blackbird ***

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York Theatre Royal

There were considerably fewer laughs among the audience of York Theatre Royal’s other production. Blackbird is the story of one couple’s relationship. He was lonely, she was infatuated and for a while they thought they would be together for ever.

So far, so normal. Except here, the man was 40 and the woman not a woman at all, but a 12-year-old girl. Fast forward 15 years and Una has grown up and is ready to confront Peter, the man who abused her.

He served his time in jail and has reinvented himself as Ray, a middle manager in a factory with an apparently settled homelife, but now he is forced to confront his past.

Essentially a two-hander, Charlie Covell and George Costigan are both entirely convincing as the young woman unable to escape her childhood and the middle-aged man still convinced he did nothing wrong.

Blackbird is an uncomfortable watch. Una still harbours feelings for the man her parents and the judge said had abused her and despite protestations to the contrary, Ray has not forgotten her either.

With all action taking place in the litter-strewn factory staff room, Pilot Theatre’s director, Katie Posner, creates an atmosphere of claustrophobia from which there is no escape for either the characters of the audience.

Blackbird is not an easy night out, but as a challenging piece of theatre it more than delivers.

To November 12. Tickets for both shows on 01904 01904 62356 or online at www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk