Setting foot in Reuben Johnson’s Territory is an unnerving experience. The kind of people you’d probably cross the street to avoid enter the beer can-strewn stage, and the brutal bombast of their banter takes the audience out of their comfort zone: mild-mannered theatre-goers would certainly not be welcome in this gang. Reuben Johnson’s play returns after a sell-out run at last year’s festival, and deals with the harshness of growing up and the danger of letting young people stagnate in a seemingly dead-end life.
There are several outstanding performances in this production. Tommy Vine’s comic timing as adolescent junkie, Stoney is excellent; the brotherly relationship between Adam and Jamie (Tom Gill and Matthew Landers) is portrayed with an understatement that lends it real conviction, and Kieran (Michael Parr) is a genuinely terrifying thug. But the real star of this piece is Reuben Johnson’s script, which is at turns hilarious and deeply frightening. As visceral as a heartbeat, this perfectly-pitched piece is truly arresting.