The Listening Room, Stratford East

Can violent criminals be rehabilitated, and can their victims ever forgive them? The Listening Room says yes.

This verbatim piece tells the stories of three violent crimes, primarily from the perspective of the perpetrators. Some character background sets the scene for climactic moments where they commit their offences, but at least half of each of the five characters’ stories spotlights the rehabilitation process and mediation between the assailants and their victims.

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Do We Do the Right Thing?, everything theatre

“…Having read the programme whilst waiting to enter the theatre, I looked out for the actors’ earpieces.

“This performance relies on a form of verbatim theatre called, “recorded delivery.” The programme explains this is when, “recordings of the actual interview are played to the actors in earpieces on stage during the performance. Rather than learning lines, the actors respond to the material during the performance and retell their interviewees’ stories word-by-word and breath-by-breath.”…

“The structure of the play consists of fragments of interviews with people affected by war, past and present. It also hears from some people who live in Wootton Bassett…The problem here was that the individual stories had scope for an excellent narrative on their own, but the numerous excerpts did not allow for any of the characters to have a substantial journey…

“The main issue with this play is that it tries to say too much and in doing so, says very little. Author Neil Walker writes this is, “a play which raises the broader issues about acts of remembrance, the public’s relationship with the military and war, father-son relationships and individual identity. The play poses important questions about the ripple effect of loss through military conflict and what happens post-2014…” A one-act play needs only to examine one of these themes…”

Read the entire review on everything theatre here.