Charity Case – Drayton Arms Theatre, London

Reviewer: Christine Stanton

Writer: Jeff Page

Director: Manuel Bau

Number 93 has been providing assistance and care to children with disabilities for years – supporting families and providing top end, essential resources for those in need. When a financial crisis hits, it’s a desperate struggle for founders Karen and Paula to scrape together as many donations as possible to keep afloat and stay open. With just one more day to beg, borrow and break the law will they manage to cross the finish line or will all their efforts be wasted?

Charity Case is an interesting story that keeps the audience engaged right from the off. Writer, Jeff Page clearly has experience within the charity sector, with his poignant script exuding knowledge and insight. His well written characters are believable and embody both the political and emotional scenes with passion. Director Manuel Bau has perfected an ideal pace throughout the scenes; building the slow burn of tension as the audience count down towards the final donation deadline.

Bradley Crees is wonderful in his role as the enthusiastic, inexperienced intern, bringing some comedic relief to what would otherwise be a very serious play. Louise Devlin playing hot-headed charmer Karen, balances out the calm, methodical Paula (Laura Shipler Chico) combining to become a corporate duo that is a force to be reckoned with. Supporting actors Nicola Mae Begley and Warren Palmer are also great additions to the cast and bring justice to Page’s complex character profiles.

While this play started out with strong audience support rooting for the main protagonists, there’s a strange shift midway through, where the salaries of the founders are put under a spotlight and admonished. If Page was aiming for truth and transparency about the charity sector then he’s hit the nail on the head, but if he was hoping to still garner sympathy then it should have been left out or at least revealed closer to the finale. After the revelation it’s hard to remain passionate about the fight for finance and instead causes the audience to cast a critical eye towards the motives behind the company. Whatever the aim, it at least leaves people questioning some of the lesser mentioned aspects of the charity work sector.

With austerity at a high and charitable support needed more than ever, this performance comes at the right time. Its insightful social commentary will definitely keep you thinking long after the final scene.

Runs until 20 November 2021

The Reviews Hub Score

Leaves you thinking

The Reviews Hub - London

The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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