A young black boy has just been stabbed in the hallway downstairs. The neighbours are sad but ultimately, not surprised. This one-woman show follows the lives of these working-class people in this typical London block.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With this damning premise, D H Lawrence condemns straight couples to lives of vengeful misery. Minnie and Luther are newlyweds, but the cold viciousness of married life has already sunk its claws in. Both feel trapped. Luther’s lack of ambition to progress in his job down the coal pits winds up Millie, who just wants him to love her as much as he loves his mother.
Bobby’s a bright, enterprising young man, so when his dad demands he get a job and do something with his life other than get stoned, he does. Desperate to impress his elders but with little sense for his actions’ consequences, Bobby’s series of bad decisions leads to catastrophe. But this new play, laden with thematic complexity, cuts the story short before it has the chance to fully resonate.