In downstate Illinois, four men convicted of sex crimes against minors share a group home where they live out their lives in the shadow of the offences they committed. A man shows up to confront his childhood abuser — but does he want closure or retribution?
This provocative new play zeroes in on the limits of our compassion and what happens when society deems anyone beyond forgiveness.
Please note: This production discusses and contains graphic descriptions of child abuse and rape, there is also reference to drug use and self-harm that some people may find distressing.
To watch an abuser and his victim try and talk about what happened, and to ache for both, is an extraordinary feat, one with which Norris is immensely aided by the production’s exemplary cast
Is at once intense as required yet also spellbindingly ordinary. And that's what makes it all the more extraordinary. It feels utterly real
A smart and necessary look at the way we punish paedophiles
Haunting vision of sex abuse by a playwright with a gift for unsettling
Downstate fulfils art's profound function of making you look and think hard about complex, difficult moral issues that society has a tendency of solving with superficial solutions. It is not a comfortable evening, but it is a vital one
Bruce Norris’ harrowing play about child abuse features some superb performances but also sometimes feels cynical
The altogether rending final passage puts one in mind of Chekhov in its suggestion of sleep and rest as possibly the only final salvation
Arch provocateur Bruce Norris returns with a surprisingly sensitive drama about convicted sex offenders
There are quite a few laughs here amid the pain and anger, but be warned: I was gripped by this play and I wouldn’t want to go again
The acting is excellent throughout, with K Todd Freeman impressing