Black Mountain: Not The Spine-Tingler It Purports To Be

Black Mountain, Orange Tree Theatre ★★★☆☆

Black Mountain: Not The Spine-Tingler It Purports To Be Black Mountain, Orange Tree Theatre 3
Photo: Jonathan Keenan

Black Mountain is a neatly constructed thriller that really should work. Set in a log cabin, the weekend retreat of a couple desperate to salvage their relationship, plenty of shrouding mist and a potential axe murderer on the loose give us all the requisite chills.

It’s a challenge to stage a pacy mystery in just over an hour, and the fact it didn’t quite scare or shock could be that writer Brad Birch was forced to be too economical with his storytelling. It is full of one-liner dialogue, as Rebecca (Katie Elin-Salt) and Paul (Hasan Dixon) stiltedly try to patch things up. But their dynamic is more scary than the plot of the stalker on the loose and we are given only tantalising glimpses inside their unique intimate world of two.

Photo: Jonathan Keenan

With action inside the round with no props there is no escape, and we see for example, how a couple’s insistence to be understood by one another can reach unhealthy proportions.

Photo: Jonathan Keenan

Underneath the happy harmony of making coffee and going on long walks there is also a steely power play going on, revealing how intimate knowledge can be a weapon used to turn against the ones we used to love. A nice story of how past relationships can be haunting presences in our lives, it somehow misses the mark as the real spine tingler it purports to be.

Black Mountain, Orange Tree Theatre, 1 Clarence St, Richmond TW9 2SA. Tickets: £22.50 / Standing (when all seats sold): £10, until 3 March 2018.

Last Updated 07 February 2018