Blackberry Trout Face

Written by Laurence Wilson
Directed by Julia Samuels
Unity Theatre
Wednesday 21st September to Friday 23rd September 2011

Reviewed by Craig Woods

Fresh from winning the 2010 Brian Way Award for being the UK’s Best New Play for Young People, Lawrence Wilson’s Blackberry Trout Face is just starting a tour through Bath, Plymouth, London, Birmingham, Manchester and Ellesemere Port. This will be to the delight of those who are lucky enough to witness the show’s very audacious juxtapositions of characters and script that are pulled off with praiseworthy aplomb.

The setting is a troubled part of Liverpool that is host to gangs, drugs, crime and prostitution. One morning older brother Jakey, middle-child Kerry and 13-year-old younger brother Cameron are preparing for their days ahead. Jakey is supposedly about to ‘live off the fat of the land’ for a few days, Cameron is building a suit from tinfoil that will make him invisible and Kerry is preparing Cameron’s breakfast and looking for the drugs that their heroin-addicted mother upstairs usually starts the day with. As Cameron pours himself some Frosties he finds a letter. Believing it to be possible a ticket for Willie Wonkas Chocolate Factory, he is surprised and confused when he sees that it has Kerry’s name on it. ‘What’s that?’ He says. ‘It is a letter for me’ responds Kerry. ‘Why did they not text you? Or Facebook you?’ He retorts. ‘That’s just weird!’ Straightaway we witness Wilson’s unique talent for coagulating supposed opposites i.e. the ‘traditional’ role of women and the cultural changes of hypermodernity.

The letter, however, is from their Mother, to inform them that she has decided to go ‘somewhere else’ for a while. The play then explores the resultant situations, the differing reactions of the characters and eventually the reasons behind these reactions. The continuous interspersions of harrowing realities with Scouse humour renders the audience completely engaged throughout the show, which is also a testament to the fine performances of the only three characters. The talents of director Julia Samuels are also obvious, especially in the scenes when music replaces dialogue to demonstrate the children’s day-to-day routines. However, as Samuels modestly stated, much of the play’s effect derived from suggestions by the cast.

In sum, the 20 Stories High theatre company are about to bring to theatres, schools and youth clubs across the country a social insight, undisclosed by headlines, into the tragic circumstances that many are forced to confront in their formative years.

Printer friendly page

Sorry Comments Closed