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FCUK’D review at the Bunker Theatre, London – ‘meaty and muscular’

Will Mytum in FCUK'D. Photo: Andreas Lambis Will Mytum in FCUK'D. Photo: Andreas Lambis
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On a white-lined square of astro turf, with autumn leaves piled in the corners and a streetlamp blinking pink overhead, Will Mytum whisks us through a few trauma-filled days in the life of a nameless Hull teenager living in abject poverty.

Dad’s buggered off. Mum’s an incomprehensible alcoholic. It’s just this Yorkshire lad and his younger brother Matty against the world. They evade the social services, they flee across fields and through towns, they steal a car and burn it for warmth.

Niall Ransome’s monologue is meaty and muscular, an uncompromising blend of aggression and apathy, lent real emotion in Mytum’s fierce, frenzied performance. It’s also thickly poetic, but cumbersomely so at times, stretching for rhymes when it doesn’t need to, compromising its integrity in search of flair.

His production – Ransome directs as well – is stark and striking, however. Mytum prowls around Grace Venning’s rectangular set like a caged animal, barking, biting and howling. It’s elevated adroitly by Peter Wilson’s original score – a tentative, fidgety soundscape of throbs and pulses – and by Jess Bernberg’s lighting, a soft embrace of pink and orange, punctured occasionally by flashing blue lights and sirens.

Hull might have enjoyed a year of celebration thanks to its UK City of Culture status, but here’s a piece of theatre to remind us of its deep-rooted socio-economic problems. Ransome’s hour-long piece is a tortured cry of undiluted, directionless rage, born of deprivation and despair. It’s not very Christmassy, but it’s crucially important. Short, sharp and shattering.

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An aggressive, angry monologue about a poverty-stricken family in East Yorkshire