Theatre

HELD at Tristan Bates Theatre: Review by Stephen Vowles

Tina Jay’s play HELD is a play of two acts. The first act is  called Walking and the second act is called Dog City and both are equally brutal and compelling. Actors Jack Brett Anderson and Anthony Taylor, as Jamie and Sleat respectively, both tackle very hard-hitting and provocative material where the society inside a prison still has a hierarchy which must be adhered too. Survival is based upon what you can do or be prepared to have done to you. Jay gives her characters back stories where society never gives people a chance. They became victims of society’s neglect; social deprivation linked to drug dependency. This is all raw stuff. This is also a story about social conditioning where the authorities must break the human spirit at all costs. The sexual content of the play: male rape, need for friendship and companionship are all handed with a real sensitivity, especially in Act 2  where a very watchable and brooding Cal played by Duran Fulton Brown steals most of the scenes he is in. The salaciousness featured in the play could be described as slightly gratuitous but the theme here is predominately that power is a currency. That dependency on a fellow human being can be totally absorbing, complicated and very disturbing and can even lead to sexual paranoia. This is a play that explores desperation. The juxtaposition of this play is actually brilliant where held in captivity or held in someone’s arms shows a conflict that proves how contrary life can be.

****

HELD runs from Tuesday 6th June to Saturday 17th June at Tristan Bates Theatre, 1a Tower Street, London WC2H 9NP.  boxoffice@tristanbatestheatre.co.uk 020 3841 6611 https://www.tristanbatestheatre.co.uk/whats-on/held

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