Northern Stage, Newcastle
Little leavens the air of hopelessness in Jim Cartwright’s 1986 collage of awkwardly staged monologues

Angela Rayner would probably approve of the “Tory scum” slogan scrawled in orange spraypaint on the corrugated iron at the back of Amelia Jane Hankin’s two-storey set. It is a sentiment that pervades Jim Cartwright’s 1986 play, a vision of despair and despondency at the fag-end of Thatcher’s Britain.

Moved from Lancashire to north–east England by artistic director Natalie Ibu in her first production for Northern Stage, it is an unusually structured play, a collage of unrelated monologues and dramas taking place behind the front doors of a street riven by unemployment and blighted by poor prospects. “There’s no jobs and there’s no hope,” says Ike Bennett’s Joey, who has resorted to a starvation diet as the only way to exert control. His plan doesn’t end well.

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