Rhubarb Ghetto, VAULT Festival

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by Lawrence Osborne

This is a tale of a midnight rendezvous of a very suspect nature between what, at first sight, seems to be just a dealer and his runner. The story explores aspects of a life in crime and the personal history between the pair. It sounds fairly simple at first.

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A Kind of People, Royal Court

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by Laura Kressly

Pretty much anyone that isn’t rich is never far away from losing everything no matter how aspirational they might be. A decade of austerity measures mean that anything going wrong, like losing a job or a relationship breaks down, can lead to ruin within a matter of months, particularly for those who are already marginalised by Britain’s systemic inequality. At the start of Mark’s birthday party, it’s a possibility doesn’t occur to anyone. By the end, racism from one of the party guests catalyses a series of events that shows just how vulnerable people of colour and the working class are, and how desperation can make all of us do things that are ethically and morally questionable, even to our friends and families.

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Jade City, The Bunker

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by Laura Kressly

When Sas and Monty were kids, the world was full of possibility and adventure. Now that they’re grown, poverty, loneliness and their pasts have trapped them in Belfast, barely able to leave their flats. Infantilised by unemployment, they stay in and play pretend like they did as children. Whether its as bin men, Cuban revolutionaries or global travellers, The Game lets them ignore the harsh reality of the social and economic systems keeping them down. In Alice Malseed’s play, the past, present and imagined flow into each other like the lads’ days do, but Sas thinks its time they grow up.

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Wolfie, Theatre503

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by Laura Kressly

Britain is a nasty, hostile landscape of bureaucracy for children in care. Their lives are at the mercy of under-resourced local councils, overworked social workers and teachers, and a hegemonic class system that sees them as unwelcome, sub-human burdens. The Sharky twins, the heroes of Ross Willis’ “some sort of fairytale”, fight to defy the government’s disregard for the hardship they endure and their odds of survival in this genre-bending, complex critique of the county’s failings to look after those who need it most.

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A roundup of the Roundabout, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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Paines Plough’s flatpackable Roundabout theatre is one of the most exciting new writing venues of the fringe. Tucked in the rear courtyard at Summerhall, the intimate, domed space features several plays spotlighting Britain’s working class this year. From Scottish school gates to a Yorkshire village, the best writing here this fringe wrenches theatre’s narratives away from the privileged classes.

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Flesh and Bone, Soho Theatre

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by guest critic Amy Toledano

This tour-de-force of a show is a love letter to the last of the East End geezers and birds alike who, just like everybody else, want to live their lives the way they please, free from societal pressure and judgement. Written, directed and performed by the brilliant Elliot Warren and Olivia Brady, the story has been brought to life through many a real life experience, as they detail the grit, violence and love they dish out and take in everyday.

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