Review: Thomas, VAULT Festival

Thomas at the VAULT Festival is a gently lovely little thing which quietly does more to represent neurodiverse voices than you could ever imagine

“I didn’t think you did hugs”

Robbie Curran’s debut play Thomas is a gently lovely little thing which quietly does more to represent neurodiverse voices than you could ever imagine. Thomas and David are cousins, Thomas has Asperger’s but even if David doesn’t, he’s not immune to the pressures that can overwhelm young men in contemporary society. Curran takes us through their journey into those men and the ways in which their condition(s) shape it, or otherwise as the case may be.

Curran plays Thomas and he shares an extraordinary chemistry with Ben Lydon’s David, brothers by any other name as childhood games turn into teenage rebellions and then altogether more adult pleasures. As with the under-rated Jellyfish, there’s such mileage in showing the fullness of neurodiverse lives and Thomas‘ standout scene comes with David’s disbelief at his cousin’s particular success at a house party. Throw in a cracking scene of getting stoned and another in which he tries to parse the orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally, and Curran’s talents as a writer are clear to see. Continue reading “Review: Thomas, VAULT Festival”

Review: Three Sisters, Brockley Jack

The ever-inventive Arrows and Traps company return to the Brockley Jack Theatre with a beautifully acted interpretation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters

“We know too much”

Now in their fifth year, Arrows and Traps have been building quite the reputation as a shining example of how to do fringe theatre. Cultivating relationships with theatres (they’re once more at the Brockley Jack) and creatives (beyond notions of repertory, it is pleasing to see familiar names pop up in production after production and not just as actors) and above all, producing theatre that people want to see. 

And Chekhov’s Three Sisters, presented here in a new version by Ross McGregor, continues that strong tradition, paring back the starch to locate a real emotional directness to the trials of the Prozorov sisters. Trapped in the cultural desert of the provinces, far from the beloved Moscow of their childhood, the rise and fall of their hopes and dreams are traced over four crucial years. Continue reading “Review: Three Sisters, Brockley Jack”

Review:The State of Things, Brockley Jack

“If only I could start to realise I’m not the only one who feels like they’ve been left behind”

Austerity bites. And it seems like it often bites hardest on the arts, government thinking considering them a luxury rather than a necessity as libraries and those relying on arts funding have been finding out to their cost. And in Thomas Attwood and Elliot Clay’s new musical The State of Things, it is a group of seven Sutton Coldfield teenagers, preparing for their music GCSE performance, who find that the A-Level music course onto which they all want to progress is being cut from the timetable in a cost-cutting measure.

Being teenagers means that they quickly get up in arms to protest the decision to their headteacher (known as Maggie – the school is an academy…) but being teenagers, they’re also horny af and wrestling with the weight of the world on their shoulders, sometimes all at the same time. Thus the political mixes with the personal (affectingly so in the case of Hana, who faces huge responsibilities at home due to her mother’s health issues), inconsequential daily drama with sincerely felt fear for the future. Continue reading “Review:The State of Things, Brockley Jack”