The Guardian (Edinburgh festival)

Is there anyone in a long-term relationship who has not at some time or another fantasised about their partner’s death? In the latest from Made in China, Jess Latowicki explores those thoughts about her partner, Tim Cowbury. He wrote the script.

She changes it and seizes authorship halfway through in a sly, brutal manoeuvre. There is a touch of a live-art version of the film Gone Girl in this clever, often uncomfortable show that two-steps lightly over the cracks between truth, fiction and the way that we present ourselves to the world both individually and as a couple.

With their “Jessisms” and made up private language this could indeed be a couple so cute that you want to punch them. But, of course, after the rush of first love there are seldom any happy-ever-afters, rather an accumulation of irritations. But maybe there can still be a Hollywood-style ending, a tragic one in which the hero dies but at least he is a hero.

The pressing question is: who is really in control of the narrative here? Jess, who takes centre stage, and holds our attention and has our ear? Or Tim, more shadowy, but who nonetheless has a quiet behind-the-scenes power? At the start we see Jess in tight hot-pants exercising vigorously. Is she being told what to do or might she be in training, limbering up for a new life, one without Tim? Can we believe anything that is being said and done or are we being manipulated to see the story from one perspective, just as Tim and Jess try to manipulate each other to become the person the other wants them to be?

This is slippery and teasing, murderously entertaining and very, very uncomfortable to watch. Just as it is supposed to be. Because love is always a bit of a performance.

By Lyn Gardner, The Guardian