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Simon Stephens has a very fertile imagination which sometimes takes his audience to places they’d rather not go.

But, to my mind at least, this prolific playwright produces an unpredictable mixture of excellent work alternating with writing which fails to cohere or engage.

So whilst I was intrigued by his recent Three Kingdoms staged here just a few months ago and full of praise for his adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time currently running at the National Theatre, this short piece devised through a workshop involving the Lyric’s Young Company and performed by seven of its members seems just that – an underdeveloped depiction of alienated youth and an extreme act of violence.

In 60 minutes of short, disjointed scenes we see disturbed and disturbing Stephanie (a manipulative 17 year old in a misleadingly innocent white dress) watching her only friend Cat pack for university, then involving her (as a willing participant) in sadistic sex games with her besotted boyfriend Stephen and attempting to force her friendship on another classmate whilst (with her younger brother) she waits for her terminally ill mother to die.

Played out in remote, stylised fashion on a set which features a larder-size fridge, an open-topped water tank and plastic sheeting, it’s bleak, nasty and uninvolving.

Hard to believe it comes from the same pen as the far more successfully realised Punk Rock whose angst ridden characters  were exactly the same age.

Until 22nd September £15
Lyric Hammersmith, King Street, W6 0QL
Tube | Hammersmith


Image: Mark Brenner


Theatre review: Morning at Lyric Hammersmith
Digital Mag

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