Playwright Neil LaBute is not a man to shy away from the uncomfortable and has virtually cornered the market in unsympathetic, punchable characters. For In A Dark Dark House he turns his attention to child abuse, manipulation and the different forms of love but this time, at least, we get a glimmer of bittersweet redemption in David Morrissey's Terry.
Terry and Drew (Steven Mackintosh) are brothers who were both abused as children by the same man. Drew is now in rehab, facing a possible jail term, and he needs Terry to corroborate his story for his doctors and the judge.
Clearly this play is not a laugh riot, but if your New Year resolution is to see more intelligent, fierce and thoughtful theatre, you should get yourself to N1 before it closes next Saturday. Don't be put off by the slightly stilted opener as it makes sense later, and if you thought Morrissey was good in the Christmas Doctor Who - and he was the best thing about it - he will absolutely blow your mind here. He's never off the stage and his performance builds to an intense and explosive finale. The final cog in the three-hander is Kira Sternbach playing a sassy teenager, stealing all the funny lines, in a creepy middle scene. There are a couple of twists and not all are surprising, but the quality of the acting should be enough to keep you riveted.
We're still mulling over the play and finding new things to be impressed about. Tickets at all prices are still available and the Almeida does a good range of concessions so get thee to Islington and experience the darkness for yourself.
In A Dark Dark House directed by Michael Attenborough ends its run at the Almeida Theatre, N1, on Saturday 17 January. Book online.