The Shatter Box post-show Q&A at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre. © Peter Jones

How many post-show Q&As conclude with a discussion of worst-nightmare torture methods? A dark but hilarious first for me with last night’s event at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre for The Shatter Box, the latest bold new play from resident company Proforca Theatre.

In the sci-fi-inspired dystopian thriller, written by James Lewis and helmed by Proforca and Lion & Unicorn artistic director David Brady, a man (played by Kieran Dee) wakes up confined to a cage in a clandestine facility, his brain cabled up to an all-powerful machine. The cage will only open when he tells the truth. But which deeply buried truth is the machine looking for? And why?

As part of its attempts to extract that truth, the machine – and the human lackeys in its service – subject the man to various forms of excruciating torture.

And in the Q&A afterward, the company added even more imaginative forms of torture to the list for a potential sequel. I assure you, there are some here you will have NEVER heard of!

I was joined onstage for the discussion by (left to right): cast members Nick Hardie, Dodie Finamore, Alex O’Donnell (making a stonking professional debut), Kieran Dee and Melissa Phillips, as well as David Brady.

Amongst the other topics covered were Proforca’s legacy of new work – this event marks my fifth year of Q&As with the company, following premieres of Feel, At Last, Lately and Flashbang – and what else is coming up in the autumn/winter season at the Lion & Unicorn Theatre, with contributions from various associates and incoming artists in the audience.

The Shatter Box continues at London’s Lion & Unicorn Theatre until 16 September 2023.

Q&A video

Q&A photos

Event photography by Peter Jones.

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