24 July 2014 | 4:00 pm | Izzy Tolhurst

At its core, Purgatorio, is about love. Director Celeste Cody goes deeper, saying it’s about the ‘undying, never-breaking, obsessive, oppressive, passionate love’, that consumes the characters, simply “man” (Jason Cavanagh) and “woman” (Freya Pragt), leaving them imprisoned in a Dante-esque asylum, freed only when they can truly repent their sins.

The audience is profoundly attentive from the opening line, separated, like the actors, by a thin screen. Pragt and Cavanagh maintain incredible tension as they dance between interrogator and prisoner, husband and wife, dead and alive, blurring the lines of what it means to live and love. The screen is an immensely clever staging tool, thin enough to suggest redemption, nay, freedom, is near, yet symbolically thick, assuring no escape from a bleak and repetitive fate.

Purgatorio is dark, at times funny, mocking love and the intimate knowledge of another it gives. When each character is told they must be fully purged of their sins before given new life, the response, “but that could take forever!” rouses a few chuckles, but a genuine and serious conundrum lies underneath.
The sound too is simple yet powerful, ominous hums and drones running throughout the play, reminding us we’re in an unknown and disturbed place, perhaps captured in our own living, breathing purgatory.

The Owl And The Pussycat to 2 Aug