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Published on Saturday, 27 August 2011

2 stars

C venues - C soco (venue website)
3-14, 16-29 Aug, 8:55pm-9:55pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Ink tells the story of Helen, a lonely single mother of two, who has flown to Texas in an attempt to save the life of Tom. But Tom is a convict she has fallen in love with… and he’s awaiting execution on Death Row.

Helen’s story is told through flashbacks, documenting the breakdown of her family and friendships as she begins to lose herself in her letters to Tom. Unfortunately this central theme isn’t examined in any real depth, and the additional plot of the abuse she suffered at the hands the husband who then abandoned her seems to be an unnecessary complication, with the details failing to ring true.

The script is certainly ambitious, but fails to achieve its aims. The caricatured Texan prison guard, and the seemingly under-researched world of the prison, limit any provocative insights into the moral discussions surrounding capital punishment.

The scenes featuring the letters between Helen and Tom were a little confusing, as the dialogue is written as if they were having a conversation in real time. Perhaps it is attempting to avoid a scene that simply involves reading letters aloud, but turning them into ordinary dialogue doesn’t really represent the truth of the relationship.

The cast all offer committed performances, but cannot overcome the confusion of the script, particularly struggling with conveying the story’s timeline. Ink is a bold attempt to examine the surprisingly common phenomenon of women falling in love with prisoners, but in overreaching, it sadly lets down its central premise. 

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