Have you seen Wish List yet?
Well, if you haven’t, you’d better get down to the Royal Court Theatre very soon, before it’s all over!
This play, written by Katherine Soper won the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting.
When I luckily received an invite to review this show, I checked out the trailer below to see what it was all about. The trailer shows Tamsin (Erin Doherty) working hard in a warehouse, packing boxes and Dean (Joseph Quinn) at home in the bathroom, repeatedly washing his hair.
See the trailer below…
Tamsin is her brother Dean’s carer, but his benefit has been stopped by the DWP (Department for Work & Pensions) and whilst Tamsin assists Dean with an appeal, they are struggling for money, so she gets a job in a nearby warehouse in the hope of being able to check on Dean in her breaks and maybe even pop in to see him during her lunch breaks.
But on arrival at the warehouse, the rules are made very clear, there are very few breaks, not even for the bathroom, as there are targets that head office want achieved, a certain amount of boxes must be packed per hour per day per worker or their job is on the line…
No phones allowed on the work floor either, so forget checking up on Dean.
We watch on, as Tamsin learns the ropes, struggles to keep up with the speed of the expected target and worry about Dean at home.
Dean’s condition is not formally diagnosed in the play, but it is clear to see that he has OCD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder as he has certain rituals that he must do to feel comfortable, such a tapping his fingers on objects a certain amount of times or having to gel and wash his hair numerous times.
It’s also made clear that Dean is suffering from agoraphobia, the fear of going outside and you really feel for him as he discusses his attempt to get outside or to stop needing to do his hair.
Tamsin makes friends with colleague, Luke, who remembers Dean from his school days a few years back. He makes working in this regimented warehouse a bit more bearable & also distracts her at times from worrying about Dean at home.
Luke also gives Tamsin tips and advise on how to work faster to reach her packing target so that she won’t lose her job. His character is like a breath of fresh air in the tense, gloomy life that Tamsin is used to.
As their friendship grows, he helps Tamsin realise that there may be a way to improve her life and follow her dreams as well as help Dean.
The theatre space was all on 1 level, and the audience were seated horizontally either side of the set.
On my right hand side was a Kitchen and Bathroom, with real running water and electricity! (I do get excited about details like that at the theatre, I love it when it’s so realistic :))
On my left, was the warehouse with 2 levels. The upper level had a sliding tray to send boxes down to the work benches which were swiveled around on wheels. One of the work benches doubled up as cupboards & drawers for Tamsin and Dean at home.
The lighting was basic, with the focus switching us (the audience) from scene to scene.
The costumes were typical casual young people’s clothes, like Jeans, T-shirt and casual shirts.
Tamsin and Luke’s uniform included a High Viz Vest and heavy work boots.
I loved Tamsin so much, her patience with her brother Dean, is obviously coming from a place of pure love and although at times she snaps, he can be so difficult and she’s only human after all.
I wanted to hug her and say, please listen to Luke, there is a way to work on your goals around caring for Dean, please don’t forget yourself.
Erin played Tamsin with such conviction, with a real array of mixed emotions that must be so difficult to portray.
Dean was fantastic, or should I say Joseph was…watching him struggle whilst Tamsin was at work made me want to jump out of my seat and look after him myself. He is so frustrated with himself that he cannot stop his compulsions, a great performance, alot of research must have gone into that role.
I disliked The Line Manager at first, but as we got to know him, I seemed that his own job was also on the line if his team didn’t achieve the set targets, that’s why he’d been so tough, so I did warm to him afterwards.
Luke, like I said previously, is like the sunshine in Tamsin’s gloomy life, he made work much more fun, he was a pleasant distraction from a worries, just at the time she needed a friend. He’s such a nice guy who understands about her situation with Dean and tries to help her. Shaquille who plays is a great actor.
Well, the 2 major issues in this play are;
- Those in a position of power don’t really understand how their rules and regulations affect those at the very bottom of the ladder.
- How easy it is for those trapped in a situation to feel like there is no way out.
This is a thought-provoking play for all the right reasons.
I can see why it won the 2015 Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting
Get down to the Royal Court Theatre before it’s all over!
Great script with fantastic actors!
Tickets: From £10 – Royal Court Theatre Box Office
Venue: Royal Court Theatre – Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
Mon – Sat: 7.45pm
Thu & Sat mats: 3pm
Running Time: 1hr & 45mins
Age Guidance: 14+
This show contains smoke, haze & flashing lights.