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Counted? (Plymouth)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Engaging and thought-provoking, Counted? is a surprisingly watchable debate about voting and the meaning of democracy in the 21st century.

Look Right Look Left (last here with The Caravan), in conjunction with The Roundhouse, uses verbatim theatre to explore the reason why so few – particularly youngsters- register to vote and how that may be addressed.

Using mainly taped interviews from Professor Stephen Coleman’s ‘Road To Voting’ project (supplemented by complementary research by LLLR’s directors Ben Freedman and Mimi Poskitt), the six talented actors convincingly populate the stage with a great cross section of society including teenage mums, inmate, prison officer, MP’s secretaries, middle England middle classes, West Yorkshire families, black, white, young, old, florists and local counsellors.

Katie Brayben (last seen as, among others, the fascist jam maker in The Great British Country Fete), 2008 Norman Beaton Fellowship winner Manjeet Mann, Peter Stickney (shortlisted for the 2010 James Menzies-Kitchen Young Director Award), Leah Whitaker (Pride and Prejudice tour) and The Caravan stalwart Brett Sadie are superb in their myriad roles while Paul Chesterton is believable as the researcher.

And what a bleak conclusion is reached. Happy to vote for the X Factor but not governance, apathy is not so much the reason given but rather that there is no point – perhaps the younger Pankhurst generation is right, why not have a ‘what’s the point’ box on the ballot slip so the millions can indeed be counted?

An absorbing no-interval but speedy 80 minutes.


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