Scrounger, Finborough Theatre - ★★★★ - Until February 1, 2020

Athena Stevens and Leigh Quinn in Scrounger, 2020. Photographer: Nick Rutter.

Athena Stevens, writer and titular protagonist of Scrounger, begins by making the audience squirm, accusing us, possibly accurately, of patronising or sidelining those with disabilities from behind our glass of Pimm's and copy of The Guardian. However, over a lengthy, unbroken 100 minutes, we are absorbed into Athena's struggle with the world after being removed from an aeroplane due to her large wheelchair and the consequences thereof. Aided by Leigh Quinn cleverly playing a truly astonishing range of other characters, we live through the stresses of Athena's fight for justice. Leigh is tremendous, and often very funny, as she switches roles in a nanosecond. Excellent sound, lighting and an interesting minimalist set all add immensely to the performance. However, the evening belongs to the incomparable Athena Stevens who, almost incidentally, was born with cerebral palsy. It takes time to accustom oneself to her delivery but very soon her stoicism and humanity shine through despite all her tribulations. At the end of the play, she manages to sit on the front of the stage and tug our heartstrings to breaking point. This isn't an easy evening but we came away richer for seeing Athena's play and, especially, her stunning performance.

Reviewed by D.S.J.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until February 1, 2020
Tue - Sat: 7:30 pm, Sat & Sun: 3 pm
Finborough Theatre
Nearest tube: Earl's Court
https://www.finboroughtheatre.co.uk/productions/2020/scrounger.php

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