Little Revolution by Alecky Blythe, Almeida Theatre, 30 August 2014

We so wanted to really like this one…

…and we sort-of did like it, but still felt a little let down by the piece. It could…we felt should…have been so gripping and exciting.

We loved Alecky Blythe’s verbatim piece a few years earlier, The Girlriend Experience – click here or below…

The Girlfriend Experience, Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, 20 September 2008

…so we thought a verbatim piece about the 2011 riots, complete with “community chorus”, would be a special evening of theatre.

Here is a link to the Almeida stub on the piece.

It all felt very different on arrival at the theatre, with the space transformed for this piece and entrances to the space where audiences normally fear to tread.

But the piece itself never really took off into the stratosphere as perhaps it should.

We heard a lot from the good-hearted middle class people who felt conflicted by the riots and/or tried to help those who got into difficulties during the chaos. We heard less from the rioters themselves.

To be fair on Alecky Blythe, she took the orthodox view on the play and stuck only to the verbatim material she could gather at the time, so I suppose that would be weighted towards those slightly safer situations…

…not least because people are not normally full of conversation while rioting…

…I imagine; not ever having been in the heart of a riot personally.

The reviews were a bit mixed – as Janie and I predicted when we saw the preview – click here for a search term that finds the reviews.

Below is the trailer:

The Nether by Jennifer Haley, Royal Court Theatre, 2 August 2014

Just occasionally we see a play/production that really sticks in our minds, so much so that we are talking about it and/or referring to it for years afterwards,

The Nether was such a piece.

Here is a link to the Royal Court resource on The Nether.

It is set in a dystopian future in which many of the real things we cherish (such as trees) have gone but humans spend much of their time in virtual reality worlds.

The play grapples with some of the ethical issues we need to think through in this context; not least moral injury.

But this is no mere preachy issues play – it is a gripping drama too and you end up really grappling with many moral dilemmas in 80 minutes.

Stanley Townsend led a tip-top cast.

The production deservedly got excellent reviews – click here for a search term link to those – and it got a west end transfer.

Below is a vid of a Royal Court debate with the playwright and Professor Anthony Beech: