Writer: Sabrina Mahfouz
Director: Stef O’Driscoll
Venue: Film and Music Arena
Reviewer: Fergus Morgan
If you’re over 50, the Summer of Love is 1967. If you’re not, it’s probably 2001, the year in which England beat Germany 5-1 in Munich, Tony Blair was re-elected in Labour’s second successive landslide election win, and Garage music was sweeping the UK’s thriving rave scene: a time when ‘in between England’s great, green hills are masses of people who just want good pills’.
Paines Plough’s With A Little Bit Of Luck bottles the spirit of the early noughties with style and wit. It tells the story of Nadia, a black teenager from London on the cusp of starting University, who, overwhelmed with hypnotic feelings of freedom and love, gets embroiled in club marketing and drug-dealing, with potentially disastrous effects. Writer Sabrina Mahfouz manages to cram in comment on New Labour, Blairism, social mobility and more. It’s a smooth, sleek show that evokes the not-so-distant past with delectable verve.
Seroca Davis’ delivery of Mahfouz’s poetic monologue is stuffed full of niche references – Toy Story 2, Sony Ericsson, hair stencilling – and pops with a chirpy, self-confident vigour throughout. The story isn’t really the main attraction here, though; the backing track is. DJ Gabriel Benn and vocalist Martyna Baker provide an accompaniment of classic Garage tracks, from Daniel Bedingfield to Scott Garcia. And when the title song by DJ Luck and MC Neat is finally played, with dry ice and bright lights dazzling the expectant audience, the house falls down, garage and all.