Yellowfin ★★★★ Southwark Playhouse | Oct 13 - Nov 6, 2021


Marek Horn's fascinating new play, Yellowfin, is set in a dystopian future where all fish have mysteriously vanished from the seas. Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" appropriately plays as we enter the auditorium to find ourselves in Anisha Fields' strikingly designed US Senate Committee Room. Put simply, the play is an ecological parable exploring the limits of power and our reactions to change. Horn's writing gives us beautifully natural speech patterns and injects unexpectedly subtle humour into a dark situation. Calantini, played by the excellent and volatile Joshua James, is questioned by the committee over his suspected illegal trade in what is now an extremely rare commodity – canned tuna. Ed Madden's direction is immaculate and realistic; we particularly liked the frequent use of the desktop microphones for heightened dramatic effect. Heading the committee is Nancy Crane's superbly forthright and funny Marianne – patently satirising Hillary Clinton. Beruce Khan has the least showy role as Senator Stephen, but he manages to shine. However, it is the wonderful Nicholas Day who steals scene after scene as the elderly and vague senator, Roy. Perhaps at 100 minutes, the play is a little long; the printed script is divided into two acts and an interval would not have gone amiss. Act Two begins with a major shift of tone and works extremely well as we career to an unexpected conclusion. Everything about Yellowfin proves that you don't need to go to the West End for intelligent, challenging theatre with first-rate performances.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Helen Maybanks.

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