The Vaults, London – until 3 February 2019
The 2010 ‘spy in the bag’ murder is the inspiration behind Kompromat, a new play by David Thame which imagines the murderer using a honey trap to ensnare his victim.
A two-hander, the story is told through a series of monologues and flashbacks primarily through the eyes of Zac (Max Rinehart) who picks up Tom (Guy Warren-Thomas) at a club.
When we first meet Zac, he is talking directly to the audience while conducting a clinical cleanup of Tom’s flat. There is a note of regret, tinged with frustration when he says: “You should have done what you do best’.”
What Tom does best is work for MI6 but he’s green, just arrived from GCHQ and dazzled by London’s gay scene – or is he just feeling lonely and turning a blind eye to rookie hitman Zac’s missteps?
The performances ooze with sexual tension and sensuousness; the backdrop is an atmosphere of isolation and threat and it is this combination which elevates Kompromat above your average spy thriller.
There is a sadness and tragedy to both murderer and victim. Threat and danger haunts them both, as does an ache of loneliness beyond the physical to the need for a meaningful connection.
There are a smattering of witty lines which add brief moments of humour as the tension grows, making for a compelling and gripping drama. Kompromat packs a lot of punch in its 60 minutes and is at the Vault Festival until 3 February.
I’m giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
Read more about Kompromat in this interview with director Peter Darney.
Kompromat was also one of my 9 hot theatre tips for 2019.
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