There is much to wrap the grey matter around, it has a really clever structure that keeps you on your toes
Ella Hickson's new play The Writer is a powerful piece of meta-theatre, tackling gender bias in the arts head on but also opening up the debate about creativity vs commercialisation.
It has a structure which makes you work, like you are stood on sand that shifts slightly just as you think you've got a sure footing.
The play opens with a scene in which a young writer (Lara Rossi) ends up in conversation with a man (Samuel West) from the theatre where she's just seen a play.
She is very angry, challenging him on the play, its representation of women but also on how women are perceived and treated within the industry.
He is a mix of bemused and interested but stands his ground.
It is a powerful exchange but not quite what you think it is. The sands shift and we are at a Q&A about the scene we have just seen with the nervous writer (Romola Garai) and domineering director (Michael Gould) taking questions from the audience.
You get to see some of the issues raised in action which is tactic that is repeated.
There is another shift and another, plays within plays, circles, characters and roles overlapping, transforming, developing layers of irony and sharpening the debate.
The set is also a set within a set, sometimes creating a 'box' on which to focus on only for the walls to come down to reveal something else.
Showing rather the telling
Showing can be more powerful than telling when it comes gender politics and what The Writer does is show just how deep it goes, how ingrained, how subtle it can be.
And then there is the debate about art, creativity and commercialisation.