Hindsight is a wonderful thing, so they say. Would we choose not to do something if we knew how it all turned out? That is the issue explored in Villain currently playing at The Kings Head Theatre, written and directed by Martin Murphy. This sixty minute, solo performance packs a lot of punches and takes the audience on a rollercoaster ride of emotion and suspense.
It opens to a soundtrack of fighting, with chants of ‘scum’ thrown in to the mix. We meet Rachel, portrayed by Maddie Rice, and over the course of the next hour we hear her story. She tells us that she will start at the end, and within minutes we are hooked, from fun-loving student to villain, this isn’t about how the story ends, it’s about how we got there.
Maddie Rice really is superb, with only a red chair for company she portrays this nervous energy that is electrifying. Breathless and frantic when she needs to be, friendly and chatty the rest of the time. This doesn’t feel like a performance, it feels like a convivial conversation at her kitchen table. Most of all she helps the audience see that Rachel is, at heart, a nice person despite how things have turned out.
The monologue jumps around a lot, going to different points in time with no discernable pattern, but it’s easy to keep on track and understand the flow. Though mostly suspenseful, Villain is very funny at times with excellent use of observational humour, which although quite London centric, will be identifiable to most. Current issues, such as press intrusion, Twitter trolling and peer pressure all feature, but not just for the sake of it, they all add to the overall storyline.
Villain is a very cleverly written and performed piece of drama that ticks all of the right boxes for an audience, and while the main character laments her regrets, no one who sees this show will feel the same disappointment.