Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Spoon Theory/Rat Boy - Live Theatre - Review

Spoon Theory & Rat Boy Double Bill
Live Theatre
13th Mar 2018

Live Theatre's third Elevator Festival runs this week showcasing new plays by rising new talent.
The opening plays tonight are two very raw stories presented in very different ways.

Spoon Theory is the story of a couple struggling to come to terms with a drastic change in their lives when Belle is critically injured in an accident on the eve of their honeymoon. It is a slow paced, painful journey as they negotiate their way through emotional and practical problems, slowly piecing their lives back together. The impersonal horror of the benefits system adds to the struggle - sapping Belles's energy and using up precious spoons. Written with insight and empathy by Bex Bowsher. Actors Lisa Eagleton and Graham Hornsby capture the frustration and despair of a couple who have had their lives shattered by a random event, while Steven Blackshaw provides the darkest of black humour in his cameo roles representing the DWP "help" line and various other less than sympathetic officials who hinder their progress. The ending is a heart-rending mix of hope and resignation for Belle. She knows there will never be enough spoons.

Rat Boy, by contrast is a fast paced, frantic cartoon of a play. with larger than life characters but once again, struggling to survive in a system and society that has failed them. Set against the background of drug culture and rave music Rat Boy tells his story - a tale of abuse and neglect. But woven into it is the love of a mother for her son, and the loyalty of friends. It is a dark tale prevented from being overpowering by the cast's energetic, humorous portrayal of the array of bizarre characters. The rap style is simple - echoing child's nursery rhyme with it's rhyming couplets - but the imagery is vivid and visceral. The dark, episodic scenes put me in mind of a graphic novel.

These two plays have similar themes - broken relationships, the failure of society and the system, isolation,  they are raw and painful but dealt with in completely different ways. Each one is a powerful piece of theatre.

As well as Spoon Theory and Rat Boy, Elevator Festival presents other works in progress, plus workshops and discussion events. Live Theatre continues to push boundaries and support new and exciting writing. Elevator Festival runs until  17th March. Details on the website at

Denise Sparrowhawk

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