Edinburgh Festival Fringe Review – The Curing Room *****
Theatre is often mistaken as a medium used for glittering grandiosity, but one significant production is counteracting almost everything you have grown familiar with. Under harrowing darkness, The Curing Room has the incontrovertible ability to seep under your skin in a way that will demand that you never forget what you saw.
In the dark basement of a Polish monastery, seven Soviet Prisoners of War are imprisoned by the Nazi regime and left naked, to wither and die. With nobody else to help in the war torn world outside, the men must question the value of their own lives and those around them, as they are forced to survive in a room that holds nothing but themselves.
Impeccably cast and strikingly performed, The Curing Room’s ensemble present the attitudes of these soldiers with indelible conviction. Rupert Elmes delivers a performance full of gravitas and nobility that instantly asserts his position in the production. This filters down through the cast, each giving equally riveting performances, notably newcomer Matt Houston showing an exquisite emotive range, and Will Bowden, who adopts a sharp sense of brutality that ricochets against the men around him.
During the time you spend with these men, you bear witness to a redefining of their own masculinity, brotherhood and morals. It ask questions that its subjects struggle to answer, but the reactions are so passionate and authentic that even you as the viewer put yourself in this grueling situation. David Ian Lee is the man responsible for this, crafting a script that is entirely fearless and savage. It has a strong, shuddering heart running through it, simultaneously caustic and graphic in its execution.
Very few theatrical productions allow themselves to purposely fall apart in fear of looking unrefined. In its sprawling depiction of brutality and brotherhood, The Curing Room becomes visceral, haunting and affecting – a truly momentous theatrical achievement.
For tickets, head to the Edinburgh Fringe website