This new play by Emmerdale writer, Karin Young, focuses on three generations of women from the same family reuniting for a weekend. Dealing with themes relating to ‘family, failure, feminism and the future’, email, tweets and the internet form an on-going backdrop to the events on stage, as the small north-eastern terraced house of activist Lorna (Barbara Marten) is invaded by her daughters, Pam (Libby Davison) and Sandy (Charlie Hardwick), and her grand-daughter, Sarah (Lisa McGrillis).
With the box set adding to the sense of claustrophobia, and visual projections providing a sense of historical sweep, the plot ranges across the 1984-85 miners’ strike to the more recent riots, encompassing wedding dresses, BAFTAs, ironing, redundancy and breast enlargements along the way.
There’s lots of witty, north-eastern banter thrown in for good measure, and it is refreshing to hear northern accents on stage as the all-female cast fulfil their strong, complex roles with gusto. As a call to action, this is a hugely relevant play for our time and a very enjoyable piece of entertainment to boot.
The Awkward Squad is at the York Theatre Royal until 13 April.