BENDER and LAUNDRY. To 4 March.


by Anna Jordan by Jo Stokes

Waterloo East Theatre Brad Street SE1 8TG In rep (with TATCHELL and SHORTSTUFF) to 4 March 2011.
Tue-Sat 7.30pm, Sundays 4pm (in various combinations:
Runs 1hr 20min (Bender); 15min (Laundry) + One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7928 0060.
Review Mark Courtice 11 February.

Wasted Lives?

Anna Jordan’s Bender starts with David Guetta’s "The Sound of Letting Go". Her three characters face a straight choice. There’s sobriety and staying straight – which will mean official approval but also bring boredom and weekends that stretch on forever. The alternative is booze, drugs and mad, dangerous times.

For Billie, Fibs and Lizzie it’s fairly simple, the chaos offers fun, an escape from the boring world and the chance to let go. The price is daunting; they row and fight amongst themselves, they have little dignity. Lizzie is kept away from her son.

Apparently written by distilling the contributed stories of party animals on-line at, Bender is chaotic, rambling, often shocking stuff. Its energy and directness are appealing, however. Some of that appeal comes from the performances in this revival at Waterloo East Theatre.

Matthew Gammie’s Bill is a man looking for an excuse to fall off the wagon, and a former girl friend gives it to him. From there on he is a sort of perverse Pied Piper leading the others on a spiral of excess. The performance is energetic, compelling and makes clear both his attractiveness and hopelessness.

Fibs’ life is small moments of triumph and disaster, until there’s a crisis in his relationship with Billie. As Lizzie points out he has special needs but at least Chris Urch makes him special, treating the character with respect.

Lizzie is matter-of-fact as she faces up to the price she pays in brutalisation for her coke and a place in the roped off VIP area, and in Natasha Campbell’s performance the careful lack of emotion shows us a world of desolation.

Laundry is a quick meeting with a woman who measures her unhappiness through her ironing. She irons her shopping bags first, even though she’s banned from the supermarket, before moving on to clothes she can’t wear because of the painful memories they invoke. Self-absorbed and self-pitying, she’s given a luminously precise performance by Lucy Roslyn.

Lizzy: Natasha Campbell.
Fibs: Chris Urch.
Billie: Matthew Gammie.

Director: Anna Jordan.
Lighting: Claire Childs.

Kate: Lucy Roslyn.

Director: Caitriona Shoobridge.
Lighting: Claire Childs.

2011-02-16 01:23:27

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