4 Stars for Extremities | Remote Goat

“Compelling performance of a classic”

– Caiti Grove, remotegoat.co.uk

Read full review on remotegoat.co.uk

Remote Goat Review for Extremities

Extremities at The Court Yard


reviewed by Caiti Grove for remotegoat on 15/03/11 


When does self defence become a crime of retribution? If a victim takes revenge, when should pity for their pain change to concern for their persecutor? Extremists at The Courtyard Theatre in Hoxton asks these questions and turns a brutal confrontation on its head in a full frontal performance that pulls no punches for comfortable viewing.

At home alone, a woman opens her front door to an overly friendly stranger who wangles his way into her front room with a false story. Resisting invitations to leave once inside, his tone suddenly turns aggressive and, in an incredibly haunting and brutal attack, he tries and fails to rape her.

This play has a good script and a brilliant twist but its success rests almost entirely on the quality of the acting and the authenticity of the attack – and on these this play certainly delivers. John Schumacher is particularly brilliant as a manipulative and vicious attacker – and his ability to coax his victim’s friends into taking his side in a convincing way is proof of this. Lewis Penfold’s fight choreography is flawless, and also entirely essential to how we feel about the attacker and his victim. Angela Bull plays victim Marjorie brilliantly – and demonstrates her traumatised, fragile, passionate and angry persona with skill.

Polar opposite views about rape and justice are presented well through Terry and Patricia – the sometimes disbelieving housemates – which makes this play intellectual and thoughtful as well as fast moving and gripping: unfortunately for much of the time it is difficult to disagree with the friend who argues he will walk away without a day in prison.

This play, tragically, is more relevant than ever despite first showing in New York in 1982.
Most theatre is a form of escapism, but this is anything but. It makes the most frustrating and savage of subjects all the more clear, and left me feeling that every judge should watch it as a part of their training.

This compelling and daring play makes for difficult but important viewing. Despite and because of the subject matter, there are snippets of dark humour and cutting irony that make it all strangely realistic. This play pushes the audience to decide where their loyalties lie; up close and personal on the front row, I felt more like a member of a jury than of an audience.

(Caiti Grove)