Wasted, a play by Kate Tempest and a production by Paines Plough, came to the Nottingham New Theatre last night. Focusing on the lives of three friends on the tenth anniversary of their friend’s death and their attempts to change things, the play takes place over a 24 hour period. We follow them through the parties, parks, cafes and pubs of South London as they all repeat and try and change a lifetime of habits to get out of their respective ruts.
As a South London girl a lot of this play reverberated with me in its familiarity, from the view of a specific part of Richmond Park to the way they spoke; though even without that link it is an amazing play anyway. However it is very London-centric, and Tempest’s focus on the highs and horrors of the city grounded the play and set it very firmly in reality.
Using multimedia theatre, a giant screen at the back projected videos of the characters faces and images and reflected where they were. This basic set also used lighting to highlight the action but the space was mainly empty to allow for all the actors movement, keeping the play energetic and taking the audience on the characters’ journey with them the whole way.
The three characters, played by Cary Crankson, Bradley Taylor and Lizzy Watts, really came to life over the course of the play, as we got to know them through their interactions with each other, as well as their monologues addressed to their dead friend. Three companions all hating life and missing a friend they lost ten years ago; a friend that each still valued more than one another.
The clever mixture of ultra-realism and rap was woven together to create a crystal clear picture of three lives lived and the adventures of one night, with all the thoughts and feeling and bullshit that goes with it. There were moments of truly hilarious humour mixed in with the tragedy of their mundaneness, frustration and grief for the past.
Yearning was communicated wholeheartedly and truthfully; the desire for something else, something more, something someone else possesses. Laugh out loud moments were all the more funnier because they were so bizarre they could only have been based off the reality of life! Yet what really struck me about the play was the sheer honesty, exploring the fear to go after what we really want because we may fail.
Wasted began with a claim it was about nothing particularly special, but its slice of life portrayal was almost painful to watch and painful to face because it resonated so deeply. Ultimately the play was brilliant and I recommend it to anyone who gets the chance to go and see it. Theatre lover or not, its mixture of clever lyrics and casual conversation will enchant anyone.