Friday, 27 April 2012

In Review: The Unsociables

The Unsociables
Congratulations to Director Louise Ingham, writers Steve Fairclough, Jack Hathaway, Ann Wilson and Lawrence Wilson and the entire Dukes Young Company and Dukes Young Actors (all 30 of them) for their first night of The Unsociables.

This is a wonderful use not only of ensemble theatre, with imaginative choreography and never an awkward or slow moment, but also of verbatim theatre, using accounts of the August 2011 riots by various people involved in them: those who joined in, those who stayed inside, those who went to watch and got swept away, those who tried to stop the looting and burning.

Rehearsal photo by
Luke Johnston
Interwoven with that are four individual stories, including one narrated as rap, as we hear one boy’s experience, blended with 3 a.m. Facebook conversations and his clumsy, always-unsuccessful pursuit of Kelly.

Importantly, this is not just a play about the August 2011 riots, but what preceded and built up to them: the removal of the Education Maintenance Allowance, protest, joblessness or jobs in Poundshops, community service, all oddly punctuated by William and Kate’s wedding. Immediately prior to the riots themselves (with a focus on the Foot Locker), we see five of the actors on a countryside cycle ride, thinking of all the possibilities of life, while round them circle the hoodies.

This is an thoroughly energetic production, with loud, live and recorded music, and excellent use of electronic projection and simple, symbolic props. But best of all is the quality of the acting: there are some very fine performances, in terms of action, gesture and facial expression as well as what is said and how.

Definitely worthy of performance in The Rake.

Jane Sunderland

• Still to run:  Friday 27thApril 27, 7.30 p.m; Saturday 28th April, 7.30 p.m. Price: £8 / £6
Dukes Box Office: 01524 598500. The Dukes, Moor Lane, Lancaster LA1 1QE

• More info:

• Take a peek behind the scenes of The Unsociables in a photographic exhibition which runs until 29th April. Luke Johnston, who is among the cast, has taken pictures throughout the rehearsal process and the results can be seen in The Dukes gallery.

Luke, 17, from Lancaster is studying photography at Preston College and hopes to become a professional photographer. He has acted in several Dukes youth productions. As well as being a talented photographer, Luke shows off his BMX skills during the production

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