Reviewed by Nikita Rybak
Inside is a window into one person’s relationship with a dark cloud in her life. A shadow. Misery. Depression. That person is never aware of a cloud that follows her everywhere, but she can feel its effects her every waking moment. The cloud is played by a young actress with uncomfortable intensity of an extremely possessive lover, the kind who cannot bear being more than a centimetre away from you and wants a say on your every body movement.
That relationship manages to both portray one woman’s relationship with her inner sadness and to generate a lot of tension, gripping audience whole way through. That intensity, however, has its drawbacks. The shadow starts off with such force and such quiet violence that there’s no way to escalate from there. Ten minutes in, we have already seen the shadow to arm wrestle the woman, to be dragged around by her like a backpack full of rocks and to strangle her by the neck. There’s nothing else she can do to top that and so tension flatlines.
The actress who plays shadow’s owner, however, does fantastic job of portraying one person’s descend into anguish, going from functional and defiant to a complete wreck one subtle change at a time. She is helped by sparse use of words, with only dialogue being in the form of phone calls where we only hear one side. Her conversations with her boss are particularly effective. By vocalising universal frustrations and indignities of employment, those calls both made me relate to the protagonist and injected some humour into otherwise grim play. (“Of course I don’t mind coming on Saturday and Sunday, Mr Boss. Have fun with your kids.”)
But besides all of those things, Inside is also a marvel. It combines elements rarely seen together to create a powerful production, riveting audience whole way through while also providing a sliver of hope in the end.