Our Private Life

This delightfully written parable from Colombian Pedro Miguel Rozo is packed with decidedly unpleasant topics – cancer, mental illness and, primarily, child abuse – but it’s so slickly executed that it isn’t till the still simplicity of the final scene that one stops to take stock of the black comedy that has gone before.

The dysfunctional family – mother, father and sons Carlos and Sergio – is, here, a metaphor for Rozo’s country. Their village is on the way to becoming a town, a place with aspirations where harmful gossip spreads swiftly in the community.

Not surprisingly, the family prefers to hide things under the carpet and everyone is in denial – even though they (like the audience) can “hear” the others’ thoughts. Whilst respectably married Sergio is the proud manager of the eagerly awaited new shopping mall, younger brother Carlos (who’s much favoured by his father) is a gay, bipolar compulsive fantasist.

This time, though, there seems to be more than a hint of truth in his latest assertion – that his father has been messing about with the 12 year old son of a recently sacked employee (Clare Cathcart’s compensation demanding Tania). With the help of Adrian Schiller’s money-grabbing Psychiatrist (he’s got his eye on a new 4×4 – and he gets it) the family’s foundations are overturned bit by bit, and the truth finally emerges.

Lyndsey Turner’s production zaps along on Lizzie Clachan’s smoothly sliding set, and there are excellent performances from Eugene O’Hare’s defiantly macho Sergio, Ishia Bennison’s chemo surviving Mother, Anthony O’Donnell’s financially and sexually emasculated Father and, especially, Colin Morgan as snivelling, disturbed Carlos who is all too willing to believe that he, too, may have been a victim.


Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, SW1W 8AS
Tube: Sloane Square
020 7565 5000
Until 12th March
£20 (Mondays £10)

– Louise Kingsley