by Sam Potter.
Theatre 503 above The Latchmere Pub 503 Battersea Park Road SW11 3BW To 7 December 2013.
Tue-Sat 7.45pm Sun 5pm
Runs 1hr 10min No interval.
Tickets: 0207 978 7040.
Review: William Russell 16 November.
Irreparably damaged goods? Or natural born killer?
Maggie is a child killer, now a young woman. She has run away from open prison with her girlfriend. They are out to have some fun.
They pick up a couple of boys, have sex, cheat the more gullible and Maggie, who has dyed her hair blonde, befriends a ten year old girl. She dyes the child blonde and something happens. The little girl is a Maggie in waiting, a child with an abusive mother, headed for disaster, a rebel already.
It all goes wrong. Maggie is found and the play consists of a series of vignettes in which scenes are repeated over and over. There are the exploits of the runaways, Maggie’s return to prison, interviews with the screws, with psychiatrists. She tells her story, except it is always slightly different.
She lies, is full of bravado, of fear. Prison is the happiest world she has lived in. Is she evil, or irreparably damaged goods? Can people like Maggie ever be restored to the world?
Sam Potter’s play is deeply disturbing, deeply thought-provoking. The tabloid reaction to the Maggies of our world is simple. They are evil creatures to be locked up for ever. The liberal-minded try to redeem them, find out why they killed, and discover a cure for what may be incurable.
The law provides a sentence and then is at a loss about what to do when the time to release perhaps still-dangerous people, other than give them a new persona. But Maggie realises she is still Maggie – and not ashamed of being her, somebody people know. She is famous. A new name takes that away from her.
Sonya Cassidy is superb as Maggie, enchanting, dangerous, glittering with glee as she does naughty things to annoy authority, without realising she might repeat what she did originally. It is a terrific performance, one you can hardly take your eyes off.
She gets fine support from the rest of the cast with Rob Whitcomb outstanding as Derek, not too lucky with girls, a not too bright but kindly boy.
Potter’s first play is beautifully directed by James Farrell.
Maggie: Sonya Cassidy.
Naomi: Pamela Dwyer.
Jason: Adam Loxley.
Paige: Serena Manteghi.
Derek: Rob Whitcomb.
Director: James Farrell.
Designer: Nik Corrall.
Lighting: Anna Sbokou, Sarah Crocker.
Sound/Music: Dan Jeffries.
Fights: Andrei Zayats.
Assistant director: Chloe Mashiter.