Naked sergeants, rogue policemen, faulty babies sold in a supermarket – only at Theatre Uncut would you have such bizarrely real stories. In its second year, Theatre Uncut started as a response to the UK government’s arts cuts, but now with the economic crisis at catastrophic point, it is more relevant than ever.
Each day five plays are being showcased, with each story showing each writer’s interpretation of the economic crisis going on in their home country. Some stories are more poignant than others, like the story of Spine, performed by Holli Dempsey, about a young girl from the wrong side of the tracks who becomes friends with an old lady who teaches her to be creative before she passes away. Or the rather haunting Blondie, which tells the story of a beautiful female Prime Minister who seduces an entire nation only to become Dictator, killing children in Kent and being compared to Hitler. It makes you think doesn’t it – we think we have it bad, but at the moment Syria has it much worse.
Other stories included a reading of the play Yesterday by Helena Tornero, performed simply – but so effectively – by Jack Farthing and Katie McGuinness.
However the two most eye-catching plays were Lena Kitsopoulou’s The Price and David Greig’s Dalgety. The Price, a story about a strapped for cash couple who are trying to buy a baby, but buy a “faulty” one (in other words a dead baby) just so they can say they are parents. It was horrifically funny with very witty dialogue offsetting the depressing storyline. People in horrible situations, trying to make the best out of what they have got, is a universal storyline that everyone can relate to.
Dalgety closed the night and definitely became the main talking point. While it marks a change of pace from the other stories – a light comedy about an unlikely political hero called the Naked Rambler – it suddenly becomes more sinister when the Constable is taken in by the Naked Rambler’s followers and then appears fully nude on stage, saying she will be joining them. Lesley Hart was brilliant – it takes an absolutely fearless and brave actor to appear on stage fully nude.
Yes some of the plays did some a bit unpolished, but the overall message was loud and clear. The political crisis is affecting everyone globally, locally and personally and plays like this need to be shown just so the message is out there.
Theatre Uncut is playing at The Clare at Young Vic until 17 November. For more information and tickets, see the Young Vic website.