by Harry Melling.
Arcola Theatre (Arcola 2) 24 Ashwin Street E8 3DL To 28 March 2015.
Mon–Sat 8pm Mat Sat 3.30pm.
Runs 50min No interval.
TICKETS: 020 7503 1646.
Regview: William Russell 9 March.
Down and out in London comes up trumps.
A striking performance by Harry Melling carries this one character play, which he also wrote, to success. It is about one of those young men who turn up on the doorstep sporting an identity badge, which nobody ever gets a good look at, selling household goods at dodgy prices from a basket.
They belong to the world of kids surviving somehow, not very successfully, probably sleeping rough, exploited by white van men, in pretty well any big city.
Melling has come up with a moving, disturbing and thought-provoking monologue about their plight, and that of the Boy in particular. The action takes place inside a large black transparent cube in the middle of which is a tree-stump or pole festooned with lights and metal steps from the top of which the Boy (he has no name) plunges to the ground.
He is almost naked, his belongings and his household goods are scattered round about. He cannot remember what happened the night before and as he works it out we are taken on a journey both illuminating and upsetting through the lower depths of society, progressing from the posher suburbs of North London to the less smart parts of South London.
It has been skilfully directed by Steven Atkinson, there is clever use of voices-off and sound effects, and when that mesh cube collapses confronting the audience finally with the Boy as a real person rather than someone somewhere else, the effect is hugely shocking.
Boy: Harry Melling.
Director: Steven Atkinson.
Designer: Lily Arnold.
Lighting: Azusa Ono.
Sound: George Dennis.