Leopards REVIEW: A seductive play around psyche & sex

The outcome is obvious, right? Wrong. Alys Metcalf’s two-hander wrongfoots you from the start as eager PR Niala (Saffron Coomber) admires the thoroughly decent Ben (Martin Marquez), for his environmental ideology and public compassion and wants some advice on how best to change her career path.

Or does she? As she becomes more flirtatious and they adjourn to her hotel room, the tone shifts into something darker and more lubricious.

Just how long can an apparently good, respectable married man hold out against a relentless sexual onslaught?

Director Christopher Haydon maintains a tight grip on the tension which ratchets up slowly but inexorably beneath Colin Grenfell’s alarming lighting design of suspended neon icicles.

Like a ninety-minute seduction, this slips and slides around the issue, dropping clues in its wake until the very last line.

Neat and clever — but not too clever — it is a gripping and agreeably uncomfortable ninety minutes of psycho/sexual game playing.

Rose Theatre, Kingston, until September 25

Tickets: 020 8174 0090

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