Thursday, 19 February 2015

Review: Yen, Royal Exchange, Wednesday 18th February 2015

Normally when you walk out at an interval it’s a fairly clear indicator that Breaking Bad and eating Nutella in your jammies is a far superior alternative than another hour of a seat in a dark room.

Not in this case.

Happily musing my love of ‘open endings’ on my skip exitward I discovered that there was a whole bonus second half of the Bruntwood Prize winning Yen to come. And, in all honesty, sod what people have said about my ignorant near walk-out being a heinous indictment on the play as a whole, the fact that the first half had me deep in thought and saturated with theatrical glee (something many a 'full' play fails to bag) is testament to just how bloody good this production is.

tells the story of two teenage brothers left to fend for themselves and their dog in a squalid flat in Feltham, Performances that could easily be grating and overbaked (alcoholic absent mother, animal loving teenage girl and malnourished trakkie bottom-wearing sweary youths) are played out with brutal honesty, no stain hidden. Sharp dialogue and gritty delivery tosses you from hilarity to despair with each passing second and an empty stage populated by a grotty sofa-bed is filled with the turbulence of first love; the monotony of a seven hour Playstation marathon and a tragic childhood where nicked charity shop clothes and chicken nuggets for tea are considered luxuries. 

All this before a horrific twist in the second half. (Make sure you don’t leave).

It was busy on the first night, and it's Manchester so word will get out. This is a seat in a dark room you'll want to get your bum on. 4/5