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The Theatreguide.London Review

Hope Theatre     Summer 2019

The characters listed in the programme for Michael Black's fifty-three minute play Starved as 'Lass' (Alana Connaughton) and 'Lad' (Michael Black), squabble about everything.

The show opens with Lad rushing into their cramped bedroom, to shave his head as a disguise, after being chased for stealing a packet of biscuits. Lass tells him he is paranoid and anyway she needs to eat. That provokes a row about food since he lost the biscuits and they only have cold soup.

Even when they take a break from their arguments about food to consider a sexual encounter, Lass complains 'When was the last time you gave me a good seeing to?'

The pair are on the run from an unspecified incident, in which one of them may have injured Lass's Nan. Since they might be wanted by police they have not signed on and are running out of money.

Uncertain what to do, they are hiding in one room on an estate, which Lad describes as being full of older men sitting round drinking special brew and girls selling 'their young bodies'.

It's a bleak intense glimpse of two people trapped and unsure what to do, their confinement emphasised by the spider's web surrounding the performance space like weave of rope.

Although the characters are believable and there are a few moments of humour, the play never develops any dramatic tension, or gets beneath the surface of the unshaded and often overheated arguments.

As Lad admits, they are just 'going round and round in fuckin circles'.

Keith McKenna

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Review -  Starved - Hope Theatre 2019

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