Tom Attenborough's Chilling Drama The Wasp: Review

The Wasp, Trafalgar Studios ★★★★☆

Tiffany Pritchard
By Tiffany Pritchard Last edited 23 months ago
Tom Attenborough's Chilling Drama The Wasp: Review The Wasp, Trafalgar Studios 4

Nothing is at seems in Trafalgar Studio's latest impressive bit of theatre — The Wasp.

Following on a from a sold-out run at Hampstead Theatre earlier in the year, director Tom Attenborough (son of theatre director Michael and grandson to Richard) brings his chilling psychological drama to the West End, accompanied once more by actresses Laura Donnelly, who plays the lead in ITV's upcoming Beowulf, and MyAnna Buring, who starred as Edna Braithwaite in Downton Abbey and more recently as Elizabeth Quinn in BBC's Banished.  

Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's script builds slowly, starting with a conversation between old friends who haven't seen each other for years. But after the first 20 minutes, a proposition is agreed, a bag is swapped and a second meeting is made. And so the foreboding tension begins...  

The rest of the play takes place at Heather's (Donnelly) house, a place where money is clearly no object and where strangely beautiful butterflies, wasps and spiders line the walls in adorned frames.

When Carla (Buring) stops by, it is evident she is out of her element — both in her not-so-well-to-do background and the arranged deal that is proving to be more than she bargained for.

A power play of who hurt who the most during their angst-ridden teenage years starts, with the remainder of the show shuffling back and forth between a quagmire of battle lines.

While audiences are initially left wondering what is happening, the ending is both finite and impactful. It's not exactly festive in its tone, but it certainly leaves a lasting impression, and exemplifies the talents of both Donnelly and Buring along with Malcolm and Attenborough.

The Wasp runs at Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall SW1A 2DY, until 16 January. Tickets £15-£30. Londonist saw this production on a complimentary ticket.

Last Updated 14 December 2015