WRITTEN in 1996, adapted into a film in 2009 and now performed in its intended medium for the first time ever, 44 Inch chest acts as a discussion of toxic masculinity and dehumanisation, explored through the vessel of a gangster-esque hostage story.
Performed by the talented members of ‘out of bounds theatre’ the show moves through the sparse plot at an oddly meditative pace. This gives the cast plenty of room to breathe, as the tone of the performance slowly twists from comedic to tense.
The cast themselves are a mixed bag. While all but a couple are well above mediocrity, a few are truly outstanding. The actor playing the lead role, emasculated husband Colin Diamond, gracefully depicts the vile anger and jealous grief, while the actor performing the hostage shows impressive versatility through body language alone. This character is also excellently cast physically, as the sheer visual juxtaposition between the two above mentioned men is stomach churning.
For other members of the cast there is a frequent issue of over-acting. This often gives moments of the show a cartoonish tone that unpleasantly jars with even the more comedic moments.
Much like the plot, the set and costumes are minimal, but the group have made good use of a few small inexpensive details. The makeup work on the hostage is particularly well done, providing a real sense of disgust and horror to the audience.
All in all this is an impressive performance from such a small troupe, offering much hope for what they’ll hopefully be bringing to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next year.