Marlowe Theatre Studio – Canterbury
Writer: Kate Tempest
Originally posted: http://www.thepublicreviews.com/wasted-the-marlowe-studio-canterbury/
#Tweetingit – my verdict in 140 characters
4* – Kate Tempest is an incredible poet and writer. A poignant look at our relationship with alcohol and wasted opportunities
“A play by the UK’s most exciting performance poet and rapper.” This may not sound like everyone’s’ cup of tea, however, having seen Wasted at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, all I can say is – WOW. Debuting as a playwright, Kate Tempest has written an extremely poignant, thought-provoking and moving piece about the difficulties of growing up.
On the 10th anniversary of their friend’s death, the story surrounds three protagonists; Charlotte, Ted and Danny who are dragging themselves kicking and screaming out of their teenage years into ‘the real world’. They are battling with the dramas of normal, boring life – feeling suffocated in the cosiness of their relationships, disillusioned with their ordinary jobs and wasting their lives getting wasted following missed opportunities.
Seemingly aimed very much at teenagers and university students; the majority of the tour dates are at Student Unions, this isn’t just about student life – in fact, it is even more relevant to those no longer in the depths of youth. Every part of life has its struggles and Wasted is written in such a way that it is applicable to those much older and younger than the characters on stage.
At 26 the characters still want to have fun but realise that if they get too drunk on a Saturday then their Sunday is wasted, they can’t clean the house or go to Ikea to pick curtains and then they’re back to the monotony of work the next day. It is also hinted at that this doesn’t change later on, there’s other responsibilities; kids, grandchildren, elderly parents – without saying it and making an exhaustive list of woes throughout life, Kate Tempest has hit on all of this while making it relevant to the entire audience
This isn’t all doom, gloom and misery though. There are some genuinely funny and touching moments which ensures that the audience don’t just sit feeling desolate. The nice things of being in your late 20s are alluded to and even the characters seem to realise by the end that it isn’t the end of the world that they aren’t rock stars, extremely wealthy or unable to change the world.
Not content with just writing a great script, Tempest and her team have created a feast for the senses. To compliment her words, technology is used to enhance every part of the play. Emotional monologues are heightened by close ups of the actors faces on a large screen – expressing the feelings which perhaps are suppressed on stage, the screen also creates much of the set throughout the play – a park or rave. The lighting by Angela Anson is simple but extremely affective, while Tom Gibbons’ and Kwake’s music is moving and continues to add to the endless levels of intensity within this show.
Poetry is scary for a lot of people but Tempest’s clever use of language to create this urban style of verse makes it all so easy. The language is very strong in places but in no way does this feel gratuitous. Kate Tempest is a true craftswoman – carving out stunning verses which can be understood by anyone and moulding a wonderful story to compliment the poetry with transitions between the two not feeling in any way unnatural. This can also be very much tributed to the incredibly talented cast, Cary Crankson, Alice Haig and Bradley Taylor, who work with the verse and pros with ease, finishing one another’s sentences and taking on the lines very naturally. Nothing feels forced, no words are used just because they fit. Everything which is written and said is there for a reason, it is sincere, beautiful and honest. This is an innovative, modern and completely unmissable play ranking high above the rest. You will not feel that your evening has been wasted – book a ticket for this play.