Pig by Alex Oates is a part-verbatim, part-naturalistic offering from theatre company Silent Uproar. A company born and bred from the 2017 UK City of Culture (nothing like forward planning), Hull has clearly come a long way from the dreary descriptions Philip Larkin had us believe. Pig suggests that the line between authority and the general public remains as grey as those descriptions. Oates has structured his narrative around interviews from both people on the wrong side of the law and the law themselves through anonymous members of the force (the very fact that police officers were prepared to give testimony is living proof of the grey area we are invited to witness).

We follow three distinct characters, who occupy the same streets but whose thought processes are worlds apart. Ted and Coral are both police officers. Ted’s mindset towards his job and duty is heroism, with all the honesty and integrity that that entails. He is straightforwardly earnest and, despite the fact that he makes matchstick sculptures in his spare time, represents the human aspect of the force. Coral, on the other hand, has her sights set on success, taking the corruption and cost therein in her stride. She is not completely detestable, but certainly not likeable – justifying betrayal and personal prioritisation with a particularly strong monologue, in which she reminisces how her granddad taught her how small things can be just as mighty as the big, but also how small things can cheat to get ahead.  Gaz, the most empathetic character of the lot, is a misguided, socially-awkward small-time criminal whose best mate is a pigeon: Pig.  He is, predictably, young, unemployed and lacking in opportunity. He is vulnerable and relies, almost entirely, on video games for company.

A subject that is reflected, effectively, within the set and the narrative. The simplicity is infectious as the insignificant and voiceless are chased around a video game, senselessly, before being devoured by the system, so is Gaz and so many like him. Gaz is a representative pawn within the system, playing into their hands and ticking their boxes without ever once realising it. The set is square and angular, reminiscent of a computer screen. With Perspex boxes, barcoded, that light up as they are used and discarded with both precision and pace. They morph from props, to furniture and back to containers again without a clunk to speak of.

Pig is as visually interesting as it is socially relevant. The performances are polished, though perhaps a little over-stylised to garner any real empathy, with the exception of Gaz (unfortunately there is no cast list to be found either on the world wide web or on a classic piece of A4), the characterisation of whom is slow and innocent – the kind of boy you’d like to take under your wing, look after and set free in the right direction much like the character does with his Pig.

Silent Uproar have undoubtedly found their direction and are heading along it boldly. I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for this emerging company. Much like I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the rest of the New Diorama season which, by all accounts, is looking hot.

Pig is playing at New Diorama until 20 September. For more information and tickets, see the New Diorama website. Photo by Shoot J Moore.