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THE WALL – The Hope Theatre, London.

The Wall, The Hope Theatre, LondonOne wall in a small town in Scotland over the summer holidays attracts a lot of attention from four teenagers. Mayford Road’s production of The Wall is a sweet, laugh out loud piece with some shocking confessions thrown in – “If I can bounce and catch this 100 times, I’m going home for a wank” – to keep the audience on their toes.

With health food stores, gossip and not much to do, the town of Stewarton is much as you’d expect it to be, but the summer acts as a catalyst for drama and rumours.

What is a little strange about the performance is the age difference between the actors and their characters. Though young looking, Roslyn Paterson is definitely not 14, so when each of them talk about how old they are you are taken aback and it takes time to get used to it. It seems an odd decision to pick performers that are manifestly older than their characters.

That’s not to say that the actors don’t deliver some brilliant performances. Corran Royle’s as Rab Maguire is hilarious. His comic timing, innuendos and puns make him a joy to watch. Sam Watson’s Barry Gordon, with his low-riding jeans, awkwardness and an inability to shut up, is reminiscent of the boy you had a strange crush on in class. It’s impossible not relate to all of the characters in some small way and root for them.

The Wall also deals with some pretty adult issues. It shows that the risk of living in a small town is not only that everyone knows who you are, rather that you’re surrounded by the same group of people, the “best of a bad bunch”, as Rab says. The insular nature of the place forces them to grow up fast and deal with issues like class and drugs far earlier than any child should have to.

Design Consultant Olivia Altaras plays with the idea of a confined space really well. The four blocks of wall against a heavily graffitied backdrop gives the set an odd timeless feeling, as though nothing has moved on in a very long while, nor will do it so for a while to come.

The Wall isn’t necessarily life changing, but looking at daily life on a small scale in the way that DC Jackson has done with this can make you feel nostalgic for your own teenage years and smile at mistakes and romances that seemed enormously important to you at that age too.

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Reviewed 30/10/14

By Joanna Trainor
@mintpixeljo

28th Oct – 15th Nov 2014
The Hope Theatre, London, N1.

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