Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Time Out

Another supportive review for Yard Gal. This time in Time Out.

I'm not sure I can wholly agree with the need to 'set' the play in the nineties. Having seen it played at St.Mary's to student audiences the play seemed as immediate and contemporary as anything written in the last ten years. It certainly didn't feel ready to be set in period. Still in the interests of objective reporting here's the piece, pedantry an all....

Yard Gal

Until Nov 15


By Tamara Gausi

Two teenage girls swagger on to an almost bare stage like they’re holding champion staffs. Audience members flinch. One girl clutches her boyfriend as if they’ll be blown away by the maelstrom. But Boo (Stefanie Di Rubbo) and Marie (Monsay Whitney) are armed only with their violent tale of drugs, prostitution, girls gangs and gang bangs, and an unshakeable resolve to tell it.Rebecca Prichard’s ‘Yard Gal’, which won her the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Award in 1998, is the story of two best friends who run the daily gauntlet of urban dysfunction, or as Boo puts it ‘chatting shit, getting fucked, getting high and doing crimes’.

It’s disturbing terrain and Di Rubbo and Whitney walk it with towering passion and commitment. In newcomer Stef O’Driscoll’s abrasive and gripping (be prepared for lots of close contact) production, they revisit the cold heart of ’90s London rather than its Cool Britannia, a city also documented in books including Victor Headley’s ‘Yardie’ and Vanessa Walters’s ‘Rude Girls’.

It seems a shame, then, with all the timely references to Trenz nightclub and gaudy Moschino prints, that O’Driscoll doesn’t do more to root this production in that period. Rather than subtracting from its contemporary relevance, some kiss curls and stretch jeans might’ve provided some useful cultural sign posting. And for all the horror of the stories, Prichard’s writing rarely goes below its sordid surface. But that Di Rubbo and Whitney take us, and keep us, there for a very uncomfortable hour is testament to the power of this impressive trio of stage debuts.

No comments: