Review: Screens

Screens
By Stephan Laughton
5*

This play is important.

We watch a woman discover a dead animal at the front of the stage. Her distress is palpable. We are stunned into our suspension of disbelief.

This shock melts into some comical and embarrassingly relatable brother/sister dialogue that has the audience smiling in recognition. All the while we are privy, by way of projection, to some hilarious and uncomfortable private messages sent on mobile phones.

The story that subsequently unfolds is so painfully honest that you cannot help but squirm in your seat. It so skillfully and beautifully speaks to anyone who has been bought up by a parent who came to the UK to give their children a ‘better life’. This story belongs to so many of us yet is never spoken out loud.

It gives a voice to the pressure and frustration that comes of being a 1st generation child. The generation that struggles with and rejoices in their complex identity. The generation that that gets to define itself. The generation that gets defined by everyone else. The generation that ‘makes it or breaks it’. ‘The generation that matters’.

Beautiful writing and sharp wit dominate the stage, while stunning acting performances; most notably from Nadia Hynes who’s heartbreakingly honest portrayal of Ayşe, a daughter trying to maintain her identity as her world slides and skews around her, must not go unnoticed.

Screens is bitingly current. Referencing Instagram, Grinder and Brexit. Laughton deftly uses our common reality to challenge our perceptions.

In a time when our country is so very divided. There is good. There is bad. There is right. There is wrong. There is British. There is Immigrant.

This play not only challenges societal and social ideas, but also explores in depth the intricacies behind just one story; reminding us there are so many others that we can never hope to know, confronting our tendency to make sweeping generalisations.

This play is important.

Screens is on at Theatre 503 (London) until 3rd September. Booking.

© Janina Smith 2016

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