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Posts Tagged ‘Alex Austin’

The evening after a dull, pointless play by an established playwright, upstairs we have a brilliant, relevant drama by a new one. It’s a funny old time at the Royal Court. Anna Jordan’s play provides an insight into what can happen when parenting fails and it’s a raw, visceral 100 minutes which I found riveting and insightful.

Hench, 16, and Bobbie, 13, live alone in their mother’s flat whilst she’s off with her new boyfriend and often off her head too. They watch porn and play video games. They don’t have any clean clothes because they took them round to their nan’s for washing just before she ran away with an asylum seeker. They don’t have any food because they have no money to buy it (though they steal a few things). Their dog Taliban(!) stays in the flat making a mess because he’s likely to attack someone if they walk him. We meet their mum Maggie when she collapses outside drunk. Her and Bobbie adore one another, but her relationship with Hench is broken. Her only contribution to their lives is renting the flat. 16-year old new neighbour Jenny comes into their lives through her concern about the treatment of Taliban and an emotional rollercoaster unfolds.

The play shows us the inextricable link between a lack of proper parenting and the behavioural and emotional development of children, and ultimately the possible consequences of this. Played out in a traverse staging with just two rows on each of the long sides, Ned Bennett’s production has an extraordinary intensity and engagement with the characters. Alex Austin and Jake Davies play the teenagers with the wreckless physicality you expect, but Alex adds a brooding introspection appropriate to a 16-year-old and Jake a naivety and dependence more appropriate for a 13-year-old. Both performances are stunning. Sian Brecklin conveys the relationship differences and the sober / drunk behavioural differences brilliantly – you can see her love of her boys but you can’t help blaming her for their plight. Annes Elwy beautifully captures the girl from the sticks who gets caught up in their lives.

For the second time this month, a Bruntwood Prize winning play becomes a candidate for 2016’s Best New Play. A combination of fine writing, excellent staging and compelling performances. Somewhat ironic with a candidate for Turkey of the Year downstairs. Try and get yourself a return; you won’t regret it.

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