Writer: Matt Woodhead and Helen Monks
Director: Lung Theatre Company
Reviewer: Abbie Rippon
‘Social housing not social cleansing’ is the chant ruminating from the Lowry Studio this evening as the doors open for Lung Theatre Company’s production E15. The huge array of political banners that hang across the back of the stage make a real statement along with the pumping music and the chanting cast who invite the audience into their political revolution.
Based on the Focus E15 campaign, this energetic and poignant production used documentary and verbatim techniques to tell the story of 29 single mothers who united after forced eviction from their social housing. The play doesn’t stop here, it delves into the UKs housing crisis highlighting the numerous flaws in the systems put in place to support the most venerable.
We hear opinions from tenants of social housing, politicians, and even those working for the Citizens Advice Bureau, which gives a real sense of perspective about the housing crisis, away from the Daily Mail headlines that the wider British community are so used to seeing.
This is a wordy production, but not a lecture. It’s informative without being over-complicated. The cast telling the story transport you on their journey from eviction to their political rallies, to the officers of councilmen and peaceful protests through simple, but creative use of the theatre space and technology. The cast are sharp and in sync. Choral speaking and overlapped dialogue give the piece a sense of pace and urgency and the real life stories offer a true sense of perspective.
This is a vivid and colourful performance with a real character behind it. Not your traditional Friday night at the theatre, but an eye-opener none the less. This may be the ‘beginning of the end of the housing crisis’.
Reviewed on 19 November, 2016