Writer/Director: Reuben Johnson
Reviewer: Clare Boswell
The Public Reviews Rating:
‘Wrecked’ is the latest offering from award-winning local writer Reuben Johnson. Having just finished a run at The Edinburgh festival it is currently playing at the Lowry Studio, Salford as part of their cutting edge theatre season. ‘Wrecked’ tells the story of mates Toby, Dimp and Smalley and their escapades around the streets of Salford. When Toby’s dad is released from prison, their troublesome antics suddenly spiral way out of control.
There is no denying that Johnson (who also directs) is a real talent and although nothing particularly new is being uncovered here, Johnson writes with skill and panache. There are obvious influences from others works notably ‘Clockwork Orange’ and ‘This is England’ and Johnson has painted a realistic albeit violent portrayal of the Salford gang scene.
The dialogue throughout the play is startlingly arresting, really drawing the audience into Toby and his mates world. There are plenty of hard hitting moments which are juxtaposed well with lighter comedic elements. Johnson has generally created believable and well drawn out characters, Toby’s dad being particularly strong. However other characters are less successful and disappointingly verge on clichéd stereotypes rather than realistic empathetic individuals. The script is also let down slightly at times by shock tactics and revelations.
Despite some flaws in the script, the dialogue is generally superb and Johnson also directs with pace and flair. There are also some standout performances as well from this young energetic cast notably from Johnson himself as drug dealer Wes, Finney Cassidy as Toby and Jog Maher as Toby’s estranged father.
It is undeniable that there is a huge amount of talent within Fiddy West and they already have a string of rave reviews and awards to their name. Reuben Johnson is certainly a name to watch and although ‘Wrecked’ does have its fair share of flaws, it undoubtedly has bags of potential