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Ugly (Leeds)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Marketed with bizarre references to the importance of being special within a future devastated by climate change; audiences cannot be anything but intrigued by Ugly.

Emotive issues of climate change, sex, mass murder, inhumanity, unrequited love and drug abuse are addressed to name but a few. The play opens to a backdrop of four doors on wheels, one blazoned with the word ‘special’, the other ‘non-spec’. Lit spookily to a soundtrack of classical and electronic soundscapes, the situation lends itself to a feeling of discomfort.

The two main characters are Woody, a Special Eurozone border guard in the brutal ‘8th’, and Ben, an Extra-Super Special citizen. Entering the ghetto, amongst the Non Special people enables Special people to enjoy a hedonistic night, thanks to the drug ‘Forget’. The character of Mrs Mason, a food memories prostitute, adds a necessary touch of pantomime comedy.

This controversial play will captivate younger audiences. Though it runs for 90 minutes without an interval, Ugly engages enough to prevent restlessness.

Ugly leaves a haunting aftertaste; fictional enough to captivate, but close enough to reality to remind us of humanity’s ugly home truths.

–Ruth Kilner


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