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The We Plays review at the Hope Theatre, London – ‘absorbing poetic monologues’

Ashley Winter in The We Plays at Hope Theatre, London
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After achieving critical success with The Me Plays last year at the Old Red Lion, Andrew Maddock returns with The We Plays. Two poetic monologues that probe the psyche of the modern, working-class young adult.

Cyprus Sunsets sees our protagonist Me heading out to the Mediterranean for a holiday on the back of a messy break-up. Desperate to re-kindle the magic of his youth, he is beset by disappointments and depression, only to be saved by the kindly and practical intervention of his neighbours.

John Seaward utterly inhabits the role of Me, brash, bolshy and quick to criticise the ugly tattoos and screaming families around him. Layer by layer however the mask slips away and the agony of loss and despondency filter through Maddock’s rich text to reveal the bleak truth.

Despite a very different starting point, Irn Pru travels a very similar route, with Jennifer O’Neill’s defiant Scot putting on a brave face that only barely masques personal despair. Pru wears her tartan as a shield and uses a jingoistic mantra to hide the fear she is facing as she discovers that she is pregnant after a sexual assault.

The beauty of Maddock’s writing is not only its poetic simplicity, nor the colourful characters he creates but the emotionally positive endings to each story. There is a clear message of hope and an understanding in both pieces that no matter what life throws at us, humans innately have a capacity to be kind.

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Verdict
Two absorbing poetic monologues, boldly performed and playfully directed
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