As usual Eldridge is drawn to pretty depressing themes but here he chooses to do it with large doses of black comedy - in fact the nastier things get, the bigger the laughs seem to be. The tone isn't always quite right - for instance it doesn't feel surreal enough to accept how well Joan and Mr Wilson react to a particularly gory revelation; and while we're alerted to the fact that Paul has consciously made his speech more formal, his sermons are sometimes overly poetical. But it's undoubtedly satisfying on many fronts. Kathy Burke directs, and apart from one gripe (on a reasonably large stage by studio theatre standards, she too often opts to have the characters spread out as far as possible, with someone in one or both downstage corners most of the time; whether it's deliberate or not that this results in actors being slightly out of the audience's eyeline, it's irritating) does an outstanding job, she's coaxed some fantastic performances out of her trio. One of those cases where I kept changing my mind about who was giving the standout performance, Shelford's intensity, Soans' comic delivery or Mitchell's gradual mental and physical collapse are all impressive.
The Stock Da'Wa by David Eldridge is booking until the 14th of May at the Hampstead Theatre's Michael Frayn Space.