REVIEW: E15

*****

By Isabella Fraser

Lung Theatre Company produce and present the story of a group of young women who grouped together on the Focus East 15 campaign after being evicted from their homes in London due to gentrification of the area. A by-product of David Cameron’s housing funding changes, these young women brought attention to the damage done by the new policies. This play, verbatim theatre that uses the words of the young people involved to bring realism to the text, is a powerful and thought-provoking piece of theatre.

The young cast has boundless energy, necessary to keep up with the pace of changing between characters and situations; they handle it with aplomb. As the audience enters the cast is protesting, singing and dancing to make their point known. The contrast from this to the body of the text, the verbatim words and the stillness of the moments of reveal relating to backgrounds, why each person ended up alone and in need of government aid, is striking. The direction makes good use of the space, with the synchronicity of key phrases and thoughts an excellent tool for making key points. At times, the text is lost because the timing of the synchronized words slips, but this adds to the naturalism feel of the text.

What should be confirmed is that while the majority of the cast is young and the stories unfolding are about single female parents, young men’s stories are featured too. Mental health issues are touched on and the differences in likelihood of attaining clean and appropriate alternative housing is discussed. Figures are discussed and the rise in people being made homeless is devastating.

There are some blips in the production: the noise or music that occurs when there is a change of place or time is a very loud and seemingly unnecessary distraction. Nonetheless, with a strong social conscience and an excellent ensemble producing intense and dynamic work, this play stirs action and is one that should not be missed.

E15 – Lung runs until 27 August (not 24) at Summerhall @ 18:30. Running time is 1 hour 10 mins.

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