Shook, Southwark Playhouse - ★★★★★ - Until November 23, 2019


This is an amazingly realistic look at three teenaged lads awaiting imminent parenthood, whilst incarcerated in a young offenders institution. Brilliant writing and acting lift this piece well above the usual 'prison play.' The irony of young people being taught to nurture who have never been nurtured becomes a devastating condemnation of how some of the most vulnerable in today's society are treated. Samuel Bailey's play, which won the 2019 Papatango prize for new writing, veers successfully, if sometimes uncomfortably, between laughter and tragedy. The dialogue is sharp and true. Cain, for whom anything is an improvement on life outside, is played with fantastic energy by Josh Finan; he is wound up so tightly he seems constantly about to explode; the speed of his delivery and his physicality are astounding. Josef Davies as Jonjo brilliantly conceals his inner turmoil and hopeless search for love behind a stammering facade. Ivan Oyik is tremendous as Riyad, ostensibly the least damaged of the three but he too has his own demons. Grace, their parenting coach played by Andrea Hall is a haven of calm; she provides the catalyst but even she doesn't escape unscathed. George Turvey directs with well controlled verve in Jasmine Swan's excellent grimy set. Even though it begins with plenty of laughter the play comes into its own when the smiles were wiped from the audience's faces. Writing like this and performances like these ensure the brightest of futures for British theatre.

Reviewed by D.S.J.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆☆ 

Want to save on tickets? See our Tips page.

WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until November 23, 2019
Mon - Sat: 8 pm, Tue & Sat: 3:30 pm
Southwark Playhouse
Nearest tube: Elephant and Castle
https://southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show/shook/

Most Popular

St. Martin in-the-fields: Lunchtime Concerts ★★★★ FREE

Naked Boys Singing, The Garden Theatre at The Eagle - ★★★★ - Until October 25, 2020

The Last Caravaggio ★★★★ The National Gallery | Apr 18 - Jul 21, 2024 (Free Entry)

London Tide ★★★ National Theatre | Apr 10 - Jun 22, 2024

Howerd's End, Golden Goose Theatre - ★★★★★ - Until October 31, 2020

Calendar Girls ★★★ The Mill at Sonning | Apr 11 - Jun 1, 2024

Your Lie In April – The Musical in Concert ★★★★★ Theatre Royal Drury Lane | April 8 & 9, 2024

Player Kings ★★★★★ Noël Coward Theatre | Apr 1 - Jun 22, 2024

Foam ★★★★ Finborough Theatre | Mar 19 - Apr 13, 2024

The Comeuppance ★★★★★ Almeida Theatre | Apr 6 - May 18, 2024

The City Life Magazine | Reviews & Ratings