Sunday, September 19


- May 3, 2017

In structure Fracked is a rather conventional play – and thank heavens for that, how good it was to watch a comedy drama unfold in this way. The title might lead you to believe that the play would be a straightforward condemnation of fracking, in part it was, but only in part. It was also a condemnation of nimbyism and of political deception. But for me the heart of the play was a condemnation of the avaricious world of public relations, yes PR!

Alistair Beaton has given voice to both sides of the argument, for and against, although by the end the judgement is surely against. But at no point does he let up on his attack of PR, rather brilliantly it has to be said. Harry Hadden-Paton plays the role of hard bitten, self serving, foul mouthed Joe with such intensity that there is simply nothing to like about the man, a perfect comedic villain. In contrast the soft mannered Elizabeth played by Anne Reid is a wonderful example of a gentle, but not stupid, underdog and again she proves that she is one of the best comedy actors around delivering each repost with gently spoken venom. James Bolam as her husband is equally effective and unsurprisingly has the comic timing of a real pro, not one word of the well crafted script is wasted at his hands.

The structure and business of the play may be delivered by a clutch of stereotypes, the activists, the greedy self made man, the grasping industrialist, even the hilariously effete waiter… but they are well written stereotypes and well played too and the final effect, set, costumes cast et al add up to a thoroughly entertaining as well as thought provoking entertainment.

Theatre Royal Brighton

2 May

Andrew Kay

4 stars

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