A darkly comic environmental drama with a top-notch cast who expertly convey the play's satire, says Dermot Hoare
If you have ever wondered what fracking is and why it is such a political hot potato, go and see Alistair Beaton’s latest play, 'Fracked! Or: Please Don't Use the F-Word'. Now on tour after its original airing at the Chichester Festival and currently at the Yvonne Arnaud, you will learn exactly what is involved and perhaps understand why it generates such a mix of positive and negative feelings.
But in the play we are introduced to Deerland Energy, an oil company run by a dedicated executive who recognises that we need oil to maintain the lifestyle we take for granted and is in the business of providing it - supported by Joe, a wily PR consultant, who sees his job as fighting his corner against all comers with whatever it takes, even to the point of buying off local councillors!
Drawn up against them is Elizabeth, a retired academic and one of the campaigners who sees her rural village vandalised by the trappings of modern technology and who is prepared to go to jail to defend it.
Meanwhile her frustrated husband, Jack, longs for her to back away from confrontation and return to the days when she made him his favourite shepherd’s pie and they played scrabble.
Who wins? Well go and see for yourself for while this is a serious piece of theatre there is some great comedy, largely in the hands of Jack delivered in impeccable style by James Bowlam. For example, his description of the meals served in Gastro pubs and bemoaning yet another aromatherapist setting up in their village. Top marks, too, to Anne Reid, as Elizabeth, giving us every inch the reluctant protester who fervently believes in what she is fighting for and Harry Hadden-Paton, as the unscrupulous PR man. James Collerill’s revolving stage cleverly enables us to watch the battle lines being drawn in either Jack and Elizabeth’s cottage or the PR company’s London office while, happily, Richard Wilson’s directing keeps the action moving along at a steady pace.
- Fracked! Or: Please Don’t Use the F-Word is at The Yvonne Arnaud until April 22 for tickets visit www.yvonne-arnaud.co.uk
Check out Theatre/Arts Section for more great local thespian news, reviews and interviews
Sign up to our Weekly Newsletter for exclusive competitions, offers and stories
Looking to advertise your business in Surrey or SW London? Check out our 11 different lifestyle magazines with a combined monthly distribution of over 210,000