Dawn King’s spy whodunit Ciphers is wickedly clever if lacking emotional resonance

17 Jan


Theatre review: Ciphers at Bush Theatre

Married artist Kai would like to know more about his new lover, Justine; all she will tell him is that she works in ‘admin’. Justine’s boss, meanwhile, is unhappy that she’s having an affair.

As she says, if the story gets out, it could compromise her ability to work undercover – and keeping a low public profile is essential when you’re a spy.

Dawn King’s new play is a whodunnit set in the shimmeringly illusory world of professional deception. It’s appropriate that, in portraying this universe of double identities, the actors should take dual, intersecting roles: Gráinne Keenan (pictured above), for instance, plays both Justine and her sister, Kerry.

Even better, as screens slide back and forth to signal changes in time and location in Blanche McIntyre’s smart, fast-moving production, it isn’t always immediately obvious which sibling Keenan is playing in the new scene…

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