One barely gets to experience pitch blackness in this city and now Duncan Graham’s Cut makes it possible. Vaults in Waterloo stages the immersive piece after successful performances in Australia and the Edinburgh fringe.


Hannah Norris, a stewardess, collects and leads the audience into a room that is the inside of an airplane. This is an installation, theatre, spoken word and part noir thriller. What some will describe as a piece of art – all condensed in sixty minutes.

Is Norris being hunted, or is she the one hunting? Who is the threatening lady with the scissors and why is a fish being so brutally murdered? Thrilling questions are explored whilst allowing each individual’s imagination to signify the meaning of Graham’s production.

Once seated, claustrophobia creeps in and, during the first instance of pitch blackness, one immediately feels discomfort. Fear and threat are promised, wanting to bring you to the brink of something sinister.


I hope for the scissors to terrify.  Instead the question asked concerns a preference over chicken or beef. Any anxiety swiftly disappears.

Graham and Norris have both expressed that Cut is to ‘head right into the fears that women have when in public – directly touching on our worst anxieties and feelings of confinement and proximity to others’.

What exact fear is Graham referring to? Is he speaking for a whole gender? Do men not feel anxiety in public?

Vaults is suited to experimental programming and it’s the perfect home for Cut which is inspired by Greek tragedies. Also included is a recognition of both Samuel Beckett’s and Sarah Kane’s influence. The latter’s talent, however, has set a precedent, and it’s almost difficult to emulate and impossible to surpass.

CutThe lack of contemporary thrillers in our art scene makes it understandable why Cut has been popular at festivals. Will a London audience react to this in a similar manner?

Aesthetically the production excels with outstanding lighting and fear stirring set design.

With her desire to control the audience, Norris excels in this one-woman show. However instead of being hooked,  I left without feeling the need to give the writing much consideration. I certainly didn’t feel provoked or enlightened about “the fears that women have when in public”.

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Madhia Hussain
Madhia is British-Pakistani and lives and breathes the air of the theatrical world. Her main area of expertise is playwriting, with occasional producing roles. In her free time, other than venue hopping, she enjoys travelling through different cities and occasional trips back to her hometown, Middlesbrough, in the northeast. She champions the need for more underrepresented people to be featured onstage around the United Kingdom.