The Young Everyman Playhouse gave us a surprisingly political mixed bag of a production in their new production, Crowd, at the Liverpool Playhouse. For an ensemble so young, it’s hard not to see the production as a success, and by the audience’s reaction it seems most people felt the same way, however the show is not without its faults.
The production follows multiple story lines in a not too distant, Huxley-esque, dystopian future, and aims to show the varied influences a crowd can have. It begins unfortunately clichéd, with a mash-up of sorts featuring a Donald Trump speech and another famous dictator’s speech.
I couldn’t help but feel that this comparison was a little overdone and it would’ve been nice to see this develop into a more specific or original point. However it cannot be understated that it’s great to see young people getting into politics and putting it on a stage.
The play does pick up though. A highlight of the show are the recurring characters of the radio hosts. They start off as a sort of comic relief, playing these caricatures of radio hosts, but set in a disillusioned world on ‘the only radio show’.
They act as a kind of chorus that begins whimsically but really shines when it becomes more serious throughout the play, touching on issues such as depression and homosexuality – and the bigotry towards these issues.
The production is upfront and a subplot about two gay men being ostracized and attempting to run away together is one of the most touching and intriguing storylines within the show.
The subject homophobia is tackled impressively here. The production is upfront and a subplot about two gay men being ostracized and attempting to run away together is one of the most touching and intriguing storylines within the show.
Some of the less impressive points are the main narration, which takes the form of what is almost slam poetry. The problem here is that they tend to freeze-frame the actual show to say what you’re seeing, and it feels like it really takes you out of the world we’re being shown.
Whenever it starts to feel too real, these moments crop up and highlight the artifice. If this was what they’re going for, fair play, but personally I thought this production was at its best when it seemed eerily real.
I digress though, as this point is borderline nitpicking. On the whole it’s an impressive production, especially considering the age of the performers and the fact this is their first main stage show. The occasional flaw is expected at this point, showing a lot of promise for a lot of young actors in a brave new world.
Until 2 March
Written by Jamie Tichborne; images by Brian Roberts