by Chris Dunkley.
Finborough Theatre above The Finborough Café 118 Finborough Road SW10 9ED To 30 July 2013.
Sun-Mon 7.30pm Tue 2pm.
Runs 1hr 20min No interval.
TICKETS: 0844 847 1652 (24hr no booking fee).
Review: Timothy Ramsden 15 July.
Precarious people in jagged-edge drama.
There is no such thing as society, and we’re not a part of it, say the Precariat, the restless stratum of society identified in Guy Standing’s 2011 book. Restless, they revolt because otherwise, restless, they drift. As single mother-of-two, mid-thirties Bethan finds, trying to anchor yourself in a sea of ever-recurring debts is impossible.
For the money-and-power people control lives, whether through payday loans that can never practically be paid or debts asserted by the local drugs overlord. Bright 15-year-old Fin involves himself more deeply with drug-running to try and protect his younger brother from becoming involved. Occasional returns by his father don’t help.
The only answer’s money, which enters with Tim, who likes to hear his name backwards, identifying him with super-rich Mitt Romney, while the ideal marriage pictured from the American presidential hopeful contrasts Tim’s visits to Bethan’s shabby flat and his contempt for everything precariat.
If Bethan hadn’t worked for his cleaning business, and been so attractive, Ben Mars’ purposeful character, from somewhere where there is a sense of society, of sorts, would never be within miles of this place, with his money and technology.
Kirsty Besterman portrays a fireball in waiting, the actor’s dangerous edge pushing against the character’s depressed expectations. And Scott Chambers gives Fin a still-hopeful energy, even if it’s sometimes hard to define some of his syllables.
Outside, on TV screens around the stage, green parkland, wide road and water ways contrast the blurry darkness of drug-dealer Balthazar, while speeches read into muffling glass containers define communications with the street or at drive-through fast-food places.
Chris New’s production maintains the restlessness, with movement, disruptions of life and arguments. Sparks fly through Chris Dunkley’s script almost as furiously as in the 2011 London riots which surround the action, with its Tottenham location.
But a lot of sparks don’t always make a fire. In one respect, dialogue and playing are immediate, yet the background to these lives has to be picked-up from fragments thrown out along the way. Some point of repose or reflection in play or production could really ignite the material scattered here.
Fin: Scott Chambers.
Bethan/Voice of Sally: Kirsty Besterman.
Ryan/Voice of Balthazar: David Hayler.
Tim: Ben Mars.
Director: Chris New.
Design Consultant: James Turner.
Sound: Max Pappenheim.
Assistant directors: Hannah Jones, Scott Hurran.