In 2014, Pomona stormed the Orange Tree, turning the previously staid venue into a place of both lauded theatre revolution and disgruntled walkouts. Could Alistair McDowall repeat the feat at the more progressive Royal Court? X should certainly prove as divisive, with a labyrinthine, genre-hopping structure even less resistant to easy answers. Pinning this play down is like trying decipher clues to a cryptic crossword whose grid has just morphed into a fish. The entire first half is dismantled by the second, innocuous exchanges shape-shift repeatedly, and we lose our anchors, one by one, along with McDowall’s characters. If ultimately a more cerebral than visceral experience, it’s a singular leap into the unknown.
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