Review: Drowning at Pleasance Courtyard

Murder or Mercy? This is the tagline of Dark Lady Co & Something for the Weekend’s Drowning. This show explores the true story of four Austrian nurses who, in 1991, were charged with murdering forty-nine patients in their beds. Known as the ‘Lainz Angels of Death’ this piece aims to confront the reasons behind those killings, in an attempt to humanise what we know as ‘evil’.

Beginning with an exciting synopsis and an intriguing set consisting of four bathtubs lit in neon pink and blue, there were high hopes for this show. However, this piece ended up disappointing. It began with the four nurses speaking as a partial chorus, however, their timing was bad and therefore something that was supposed to be eery fell flat. 

The actors should be recognised for powering through a poor script, in particular, Jessica Ross’ performance as Irene was the standout of the piece, as she was the only character through which real emotion and vivacity were felt. Director Steven Roy could have created more complex movement, instead, the pacing and direction felt amateur and boring. Each scene was either too short or too long, and the plot was interspersed with monologues whereupon each nurse discussed her specific trauma, which confused the storyline and did not add the depth that it intended.

The main problems of this piece was a hollow script and misguided direction. The story of four murderous nurses had real potential to be engaging and bold, but instead was packed full of cliches, hammed up melodrama and monotonous scene changes.

Drowning, Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Above, Aug 1-12, 12-26, 14.30pm

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