Reviewed by Kerry Cooper

October 2016

Death and the Maiden came to light in 1991; written by Chilean playwright Ariel Dorfman; it tackles the aftermath of a torturous regime under dictator Pinochet. Set in present times of a more democratic government, it deals with the aftermath of victims still living with the horror.

Cheryl Douglas plays former political prisoner Paulina Salas; her portrayal is intense and raw as she is forced to re-open past wounds. Husband Gerardo Escobar played by Thorin Cupit has just been appointed to head a commission into the human rights violations of this time. On his drive home he gets a flat tyre and his assisted by good Samaritan Doctor Roberto Miranda brought to life by Nick Buckland. Recognising the voice of the doctor who took part in her torture and rape; Salas unravels, bringing forth her need for vengeance.

Set in the home of Escobar, this psychological drama unfolds layer by layer bringing with it a story of unimaginable horror. Director Kristin Telfer is clever not to overplay, with the text delivering enough shock value. Casting well, the trio keep you transfixed with a story of confessions and lies. It poses many moral questions and leaves you wondering whether Salas has identified correctly one of her captors.

Buckland gives enough humanity to his performance to keep you guessing and Cupit does well to play the middle man, but the outstanding performance by Douglas leaves you shaken to the core. Wonderfully complimented by the intimate performance space, this drama is not to be missed.


Nick Buckland and Cheryl Douglas in Death and the Maiden

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