When I heard about this play, I assumed it would highlight the social issues of life in a northern town in the 1980’s, what I didn’t realise, was how dark and hard hitting it was going to be.
Have a peek at the trailer for the show to get a feel for it…
Written by Jim Cartwright, this hard hitting play which depicts the struggle in the north of England mid-’80’s Thatcher era, it arrives at The Royal Court Theatre at a poignant time in our current political climate.
The play opens with ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow‘ playing on a record player, Scullery (Lemn Sissay) enters and turns off the music. He welcomes us (the audience) and introduces us to his ‘Road’.
We are then introduced to a variety of characters from mothers and teenage daughters to skinheads looking for a fight and many more in between.
The themes covered and or touched upon include, loneliness, dementia, domestic abuse, suicide, promiscuity and more.
We get a real feel for the social limitations of each character, and how they survive (or not survive) in this tough environment. There are no jobs and some people have no hope left.
I did love the 1980’s clothes, so nostalgic, the colourful big hair, bright pink lipstick, stiletto heels and denim mini skirts, shoulder pads, Dr Marten Boots and White washed Jeans, I could go on, but you get where i’m going with this, yes, the costumes were delightfully true to the era 🙂
The backdrop is of a brick wall with a broken road sign, basically saying’…Road’ which I thought was a very clever touch.
Each scene is set within the centre stage area, mainly, with some very surprising scenes all featured, creatively around a huge perspex transparent box (no spoilers), I’ve never seen anything like it, it was amazing to watch and the set changes kept the play fresh and interesting even though it could be a bit sad at times.
Sound effects added to the rich dialogue throughout the play, from TV show footage to banging on the neighbours wall – very realistic too.
Although I found it to be darker than expected there were real moments of humour and fun. It was surprising how much you emphasise with the characters, as it seems there were so many to meet (most of the talented actors, play multiple roles), it didn’t get confusing and it still feels like you get to know each character well enough to care about them.
The narration by Scullery was very helpful at times, giving us a background on the characters, enabling us to put the current scene into perspective.
There was a scene that did shock me (no spoilers) but it showed how low and depressed some characters became and what lengths they will go to, to feel like they have some control of their own life, very sad, but real,
All the characters felt very real and raw and that’s why I suppose it was very easy to relate to many of them.
If you want something different to see, that is real and hard hitting, I’d see Road, before it leaves the Royal Court Theatre.
Venue: Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London SW1W 8AS
Tickets – Royal Court Theatre.
Days/Times: Monday – Friday – 7.30pm
Matinees: Tuesdays & Saturdays – 2.30pm
Relaxed Matinee: Saturday 26th August
Age: 14yrs +
Currently booking until 9th September 2017.