New writing: Royal Court Theatre
A stunning demonstration of how theatre can illuminate contentious contemporary issues, this piece of new writing by the exciting Welsh playwright Gary Owen tells a story about Liam (David Moorst) a Dr Who Obsessed teenager who is who is sent to live in rural Wales with his estranged father (Jason Hughes) after his mother's death. Tension mounts when you realise that Violence isn’t just a catchy title - it’s also the nickname of the boy’s father. Moorst captures the mannerisms, intonations and posture of an awkward adolescent perfectly, and Hughes, as his volatile father, disarmed us with a combination of easy charm and menacing red-faced rage.
While the themes of domestic violence are brought to life with a gritty realism that will make you wince, the story is shot through with laugh out loud humour. Moments resonate and bring our own adolescence into sharp focus, especially as Liam attempts to negotiate his crush on friend Jen and gets a bolder than average 'bird and bees' talk from Vile ('Why do you think girls like bastards?').
Just as you think you have a handle on the issues of the play -- the titular violence, father/son dynamics, growing up -- the second half expands with an elegantly echoic structure to explore sexual consent. It is here that Violence and Son really shines. Instead of simplifying the debate around rape, Owen's script reveals the extent of the complexities, leaving the attribution of blame brilliantly ambiguous and making us think long beyond the last applause. This is a play that should be used to educated and enlighten.
Father son relationship on stage
This isn’t Owen’s first look at a father/son relationship (he has written a previous verbatim piece titled ‘On Father Figures’). Back in 2001 he was resident playwright for Paines Plough, the revered touring company who call themselves the ‘national theatre of new writing’, and he has also been script editor for BBC Wales Drama, as well as writing ‘Love Steals Us from Loneliness’ for the National Theatre Wales in 2010.
Hamish Pirie - theatre director
Hamish Pirie takes reigns for this production - a young director who is also beginning to make his mark in the industry. Only last year he completed a stint as Associate Director at The Traverse in Edinburgh, which is always a huge beacon of the Fringe Festival, as well as working at the Arcola, The Soho Theatre, and plenty of other London venues. His directing debut at The Royal Court, Teh Internet is Serious Business, was bold and playful. While Violence and Son has a subtler staging, with focus on dialogue and action, a pinch of the surreal slips in with each scene change, as Liam briefly becomes Dr Who and flashes on the light, then snaps back to his stooped, fidgety self.
|Violence and Son, Royal Court Theatre
|Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square, London, SW1W 8AS | MAP
|Sloane Square (underground)
03 Jun 15 – 11 Jul 15, 7:45 PM – 9:45 PM
|£10 - £20
|Click here to book via Royal Court Theatre