Lunatic 19’s – A Deportational Road Trip.
By Tegan McLeod.
The Finborough Theatre, 118 Finborough Road, London SW10 9ED to 3 August 2019.
Tues-Sat 7.30pm. Mat Sat & Sun 3pm.
Runs 90 mins No interval.
TICKETS: 01 223 357851.
Review: William Russell 11 July.
Gracie, a Latina girl illegally in the United States, is involved in a road accident and taken to hospital where she is treated for injuries that require her to wear a neck brace. The problem is that her status is discovered and Alec, an enforcement officer, is sent to take her for deportation to Mexico. Getting its world premiere at the Finborough this is basically a classic road movie situation – two people trapped in a vehicle on a long journey fight, bond, and fight again. Tegan McLeod is lucky in her cast and director. Gabriela Garcia is wonderfully resilient, uncompromising and tough as a woman accustomed to having to fight her own battles, while as Alec, faced with this difficult captive in the back of his van, Devon Anderson creates a man torn between having to do his job and wanting to do the decent thing. He is painfully aware that he too is a Latino, but one with legal status. The resulting battle of wits is fascinating to watch and director Jonathan Martin has found the right rhythm for the piece, conveying with only a few props in the simplest of settings that a long, tedious and unhappy trip is under way. This is a road movie with no road and no movement brought to life in the starkest of settings.
McLeod does not shirk the brutality of it all, and the play provides an insight into what is going on in the United States as the authorities struggle to cope with the flood of people seeking the American dream and the ones already living it but illegally. Gracie is one of the latter. She has paid her taxes, was a good citizen, but still not a legal citizens and she has to pay the price and go back to somewhere she does not any longer belong. Alec learns to respect someone who is, at first, just a human package to be manacled and dumped in the back of his van, treated with the minimum of decency and delivered on time like any Amazon parcel.
As well as reviving lost plays the Finborough also stages new work and this piece, getting its world premiere, deserves to be seen. Both Gracie and Alec are people trapped in a system that pays no regard to them as human beings, and who deserve better.
Alec: Devon Anderson.
Gracie: Gabriela Garcia.
Director: Jonathan Martin.
Designer: Carla Goodman.
Lighting Designer: Kevin Treacy.
Sound Designer: Juan Ernesto Diaz.