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Thrasher (Manchester)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Conor McKee, writer, dramaturg, and producer has his premiere at the Royal Exchange Studio space with Thrasher.

In Greek tradition, the events take place over one evening but unlike Aristotle’s mote that all action is in a solitary location, McKee takes his sold out audience on a frantic journey through the dark streets of Manchester and the lonely homes of the six characters.

The play opens at the end of the show and then events leading up to the dramatic crescendo are played out. Blagger Lee (Ryan Greaves) is down on his luck and financially unstable whilst his masseuse girlfriend Jenny ( talented Claire Disley) is left at home to ponder their future as a couple.

Meanwhile, nasty and shallow Vic (Cathy Shiel) operates in an entirely selfish way, bossing her God-bothering virginal friend Chloe (Katie McArdle) into doing things she doesn’t want to and manipulating her boyfriend Colin (Darren John Langford) into loving her. Frank (Declan Wilson) sits at home listening to voice messages from a former lover and soliloquising about lost love. His pain is heart-felt and poetic.  

Vic, Chloe, Colin and Lee end up in a bar selling and taking drugs, drinking away their pain. Frustrations are relieved whilst searching for affections elsewhere. Meanwhile, Frank visits Jenny for a massage and it is in these beautiful scenes about what might have been that the play comes alive. The performances are quietly contemplative and the writing superb. The direction (by MEN Award-winning Wyllie Longmore) captures the sense of displacement felt when people fall out of love.

The haunting music (composed by Michael Cretu) only highlights the sadness the characters feel, like lost ghosts wandering through the city, unloved, unnoticed whilst their calls for help, unanswered.

- Lucia Cox

(Reviewed at the Royal Exchange, Manchester)


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