Who Cares, VAULT Festival

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by Becky Lennon

Presented by Just Add Milk (JAM), Conor Hunt’s Who Cares is a powerful and moving piece of theatre which explores the challenges faced in society today because of austerity. We join Jamie (Reece Pantry), who is enjoying a pint in his local pub The Crown, served by the charming bartender Dan (Kyle Rowe), who claims he is the ‘Shakespeare of Swears’. We follow the pair on their journey to create a final send-off for the pub, in hope that they can save their beloved local by showcasing the need for this community space, which is so important to Jamie and Dan in different ways.

Jamie lives with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (MD), and Dan is learning how to support his customer – and now close friend – without treating him differently.  The pair challenge current stereotypes about male friendship, and break down misconceptions of masculinity, as they speak openly about their feelings and experiences and support one another. Of course, there’s still a sprinkle of ‘lads banter’.

Although we have the pleasure of watching the friendship grow,  we are also exposed to the day-to-day realities faced by people like Jamie, such as re-location of social housing due to lack of funding. This results in a forced move, halfway across the country.

The writing is poetically modern and mixes both Northern and Southern slang, which is delivered by Pantry and Rowe with plenty of conviction and likeability. With the potential to be a heavy and emotional piece, Hunt has written humour and comedy into the topic that allows us to laugh and engage comfortably.

This is a show not to be missed!

Who Cares runs through 23 February.

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