Long live Lung. The verbatim theatre company have carved a niche for themselves making vital, vibrant shows about pressing political issues. Trojan Horse was one of the highlights of last year’s festival, and new work Who Cares – about the traumatic, trouble-filled lives of young carers – is similarly superb, even if it doesn’t quite reach the same heights.
Three performers – Jessica Temple, Lizzie Mounter and Luke Grant – play three Salford youths, who slide and spin around Jen McGinley’s locker-room set, relating their scarring stories to the audience via direct address.
Woodhead’s direction is typically dynamic, intelligently interspersing the action with pulsating movement sequences.
It’s tear-jerking throughout – accidents, abuse, disability, depression and suicide, all born on the backs of teenagers – and infuriating, too. Woodhead’s script, filleted from interviews with real people who really faced these issues, points the finger squarely at austerity and its crippling effects on local councils and the services they can provide.
There’s little narrative, but there doesn’t need to be: this is emotive, documentary theatre.
All three performers are excellent, but Lizzie Mounter is particularly affecting as Nicole, a truant teenager tasked with looking after her disabled mother from the age of four. When she breaks down in tears, it’s almost unbearable.