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Car Thieves review at Birmingham Rep The Door

Rude, fast and hard-hittingly funny are the first words to spring to mind while watching Akos Nemeth’s Car Thieves.

The play is a snapshot of the contemporary urban scene in Hungary but it has universal value as it touches on a large number of issues affecting today’s youths, including drugs, crime and sex.

The characters are embroiled in a life of running in circles, searching for something meaningful while only finding short-term fun and dead ends. Things start getting out of hand when the three teens Lacika, Aron and Moni unwittingly get involved with big time mafiosi, spiralling to an end where even money does not make any difference.

Ashley Rolfe makes a storming debut as Lacika, a hyper-energetic junkie. He wears his role like a glove with effortless acting and meticulous attention to detail.

Javone Prince, as his best mate Aron, is also very successful in his laid-back, wannabe ladies’ man role.

Moni is played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw – her second role since graduating in July. She is well cast as a troubled teenager, lost on erroneous journeys while looking for love and happiness. She has enough attitude to share, which at times overshadows the quality of her acting.

Kevin O’Loughlin makes the most out of his two parts as a nervous and corrupt policeman and a priest on the brink of a breakdown.

Martin Herdman and Ian Reddington as the two highly strung gangsters and Michael Culkin as the alcoholic family doctor, give the play some mature clout.

Production Information

Birmingham Rep, The Door, September 9-18

Akos Nemeth, translated by Che Walker
Paul Jepson
Birmingham Repertory Theatre Company, Fireraisers, Culture 2000 and Interplay
Ashley Rolfe, Javone Prince, Keving O’Loughlin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Michael Culkin, Kay Bridgenorth , Ian Reddington, Jane Bertish, Martin Herdman
Running time
1hr 45mins