When Kevin (Mikey Anthony-Howe), a washing machine repairman, drives through the woods to a remote cottage for his last call of the day, he initially thinks he is dealing with an elderly and particularly eccentric customer.
The washing machine is kaput, its bearings have completely gone, but while Li Na (Tina Chiang) has the money to buy a new one, she is insistent that Kevin stays to fix it. As the wind rises and a terrible storm descends trapping Kevin in the dark cottage in the woods, he starts to discover he has lost his own bearings, and that all is not quite what it seems.
Mikey Anthony-Howe and Tina Chiang. Photos by Nicole Latchana.
Tsang, director Jen Tan and sound designer Richard Bell play with audience perceptions, making the most of the confined space. Is Li Na very ancient or perhaps very young? Why does the crackly radio broadcast contain snatches of a story about a missing child? Is that noise from above a cat or a dragon? Should Kevin be getting the hell out of there as fast as he can or is he about to discover something he needs to know?
The piece is always most interesting when it is most suggestive rather than explicit. Often when it tries to pile on the tension, such as when Li Na steals a lethal looking tool from Kevin’s bag, it can all become a trifle hokey. Tan’s production doesn’t always get the pacing right either.
But the deceptively laid-back performances from Anthony-Howe and Chiang have their own quiet understated power, and the way storytelling and myth are employed to examine culpability, and the stories we cling to in order to repress guilt, is good. While Fix employs the form of the psychological thriller it is always at its most absorbing when it lurks around in the thickets of the unconscious and aims for something far more unsettling than simply a neat final twist.
Fix runs at the Pleasance Theatre until Sat 1 Feb.