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Review: Rattle & Roll, Live Theatre, Newcastle

MARIE (formerly Anna) comes out of prison intent on a fresh start – no more drugs or selling herself on street corners.

MARIE (formerly Anna) comes out of prison intent on a fresh start – no more drugs or selling herself on street corners. She has a little boy to think about.

She’ll have her work cut out. When you’ve got nothing, few opportunities are open to you. She can’t get a crisis loan because she hasn’t got ID. She can’t get ID because she hasn’t got any money, having spent the little she had on a Teddy for her son.

The other girls she knows won’t be much help, although Michelle offers accommodation.

She’s got herself a cleaning job, desperate to stay off the game and pining for the child who has been taken away from her.

Diane is just a “smackhead”, forever thieving to fund her addictions or banging on the doors of blokes who will pay whatever pittance they fancy for her personal services.

Then there’s Emily, the lesbian, hyperactive, brought up by her granny because her mother chose a bloke prone to violence over her. She’s 18 today and living on the edge.

Real North East women’s stories inspired this engrossing drama from Open Clasp Theatre Company, which takes place over one chaotic day in the lives of these women whose hold on the most modest place in society is, to say the least, precarious.

There are brilliant performances from Cheryl Marie Dixon (Marie), Ally Hunter (Michelle), Eva Quinn (Emily) and particularly Zoe Lambert as twitching Diane, so out of it she doesn’t realise how tragic she is

Written by Catrina McHugh, directed by Amy Golding and designed by Joanna Scotcher, Rattle & Roll is a slice of life nobody would aspire to.

It ought to be utterly depressing, infused as it is with substance dependency and off-stage violence.

For the reasons stated above, and for the gallows humour and moments of genuine warmth which see the women through, it is actually thoroughly entertaining.

www.openclasp.org.uk

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