Strindberg’s The Stronger is a single-scene drama in miniature, but the New Venture team creatively amplified the text by teaming the play with music inspired by its emotional dynamics and a dance piece exploring the voice of its silent character.

Director Mike Stubbs staged the play in the bar, creating an intimate café for Mademoiselle Y.

Her former friend and rival Madame X appears friendly but challenging, with the barbed subtext of her digs gradually emerging as she accuses the silent reader of having an affair with her husband.

Gayle Dudley demonstrated the wronged wife’s steadily-building paranoia, while Christine Gelder was her mute foil, her facial expressions evolving from amusement to pained, studied blankness, tension only visible in the set of her shoulders and jaw.

Experimental vocalist Nicolette Corcoran began her musical set with the powerful incantation Thief, looping her voice to create eerie, oceanic harmonies.

The songs inspired by the play’s text and stage directions were intense and compelling, although Thank You For Teaching Me How To Love was almost triumphantly chirpy.

Tamar Daly’s powerful dance from the viewpoint of Mademoiselle Y pitted the voice of her body and physical explorations against that of the text and the insistent mouth of Madame X.

This repeatedly reappeared, projected on to a white-coated dummy, then attacking the dancer’s leg and speaking across her stomach, until a multiplicity of these mouths covered her back, filling the floor space with fleshy lips and chattering teeth in a sexual, threatening chastisement.

Using a chair to stand for the mistress, the white coat for the wife, and finally the microphone stand to represent the husband, Daly established a dialogue: embracing the metal frame like a lover’s body, then reassembling it as a weapon to counter the surging verbal attack.