Thomas W. Hodgkinson


By Abigail Hood
The Park, London

A teenage girl is missing, presumed abducted. Her mother, Gill (Tracey Wilkinson), self-medicates with wine and God. Meanwhile, her sadly smiling father, Tom (Adam Morris), pays an enthusiastic escort named Leah (Abigail Hood) to dress as his daughter, complete with school blazer and tie. There’s no right way to grieve, but there are wrong ways. It’s hardly surprising that Gill has her doubts about Tom’s motives — or that the escort’s toxically abusive boyfriend (Kevin Tomlinson) jumps to the same conclusion. The theatre is slightly overselling Spiral when it proclaims its “world premiere”, given that this is a reworking of another play by the actor-writer Hood, which was staged last year. And there are flaws in the make-up. For one thing, the characters speak more deftly, and swiftly, about their feelings than anyone I know. But in the stronger second half, the actors fill out their roles and hit unexpected emotional marks. After what has gone before — the horrors and histrionics — the upbeat ending feels positively courageous.