Lyric Theatre Studio Theatre Square/King Street Hammersmith W12 8QD To 5 October 2012.
Runs: 1hr 50min One interval.
Review: Carole Woddis 5 October.
TV too often rules OK – with on e KO exception.
New writing is flourishing. At least, judging by the plethora of new playwriting awards, there seems no lack of opportunities.
Waifs and Strays is yet another young company admirably trying to respond to the here and now with a track record of new writing that includes appearances at the increasingly influential Latitude Festival.
This programme of short plays commissioned from six young writers is in response to the political best-seller of the same name about the demonisation of the working class by Owen Jones. As such it shows an impressive list of young writers with connections to the Royal Court, Soho Theatre, Theatre 503 and television as well as help from, among others, LAMDA and Max Stafford-Clark.
I’d like to say that with such credentials the plays impress. But Theatre Uncut’s similar exercise responding to the anti-capitalism occupations, also comprised of pint-sized plays, managed it with somewhat greater impact.
Chavs’ emphasis on stereotyping and the perpetuation of stereotypes in the popular media certainly provide a stylish, professional and often entertaining evening. Kirsty Patrick War and Suzy McClintock, the company’s guiding lights, are to be applauded for their enterprise and the quality of the performances.
But with one outstanding exception, the style remains depressingly within the TV naturalism mode.
Brad Birch’s opener, Want for Nothing, sets the tone, a neat twist on the theme of the apparently liberal-minded middle classes masking a nasty, potentially fascistic streak of viciousness when it comes to dealing with `plebs’ (sic) from the local housing estate.
Jake Brunger, Steven Hevey, Eleanor Lawrence, and Sarah Solemani in her amusing Up the Royal Borough, all have points to make about inequality, being left behind educationally or coming from the wrong side of the tracks.
But the one to look out for in the future – and I hope he develops it further – is Kenneth Emson’s Somewhere Between the News Clip And the Gossip Section (These Small Tragedies) – a humdinger that in twenty electrifying minutes flips the influence of TV `reality’ shows and the use of social media into a powerful indictment of how we `read’ news. A real find.
Lyric Lounge and Waifs + Strays present:
A writer’s response to
CHAVS: The Demonization of the Working Class by Owen Jones.
Want for Nothing by Brad Birch.
Martin: Alex Mann.
Chrissy: Kelly Hotten.
Director: Kirsty Patrick Ward.
Schnapps by Jake Brunger.
Michelle: Letty Butler.
Alice: Victoria Gee.
Laura: Naomi Petersen.
Director: Barney Norris.
Somewhere Between The News Clip And The Gossip Section (These Small Tragedies) by Kenneth Emson.
He: Calum Callaghan.
She: Samantha Pearl.
Director: Stef O’Driscoll.
An Education by Steven Hevey.
Joe: James Clay.
Ricky: Matt Ingram.
Director: Kirsty Patrick Ward.
Last Man On The Heygate by Eleanor Lawrence,
John: John Peters.
Charlie: Eleanor Lawrence.
Jamal: Miles Mitchell.
Director: Richard Fitch.
The Royal Borough by Sarah Solemani.
Kelly: Joana Nastari.
Lynn Diamond: Lucy Briers.
Director: Max Key.
Designer: Fly Davis
Sound: Edward Lewis
Filmmaker: Andy Muir.
For info on Waifs + Strays see @waifsstrays; or info:waifsandstraystheatre.co.uk
For info on Lyric Hammersmith see @LyricHammer or www.lyric.co.uk