THIS dark comedy, inter-linking the lives of seven people in Newcastle one New Year's Eve has been billed as Tarantino-esque - which anyone who’s experienced the full onslaught of tinsel-draped drunkenness that is the city centre over the festive season will relate to.
But Irish writer Lisa McGee’s play steers clear of bloodbaths and opts instead for plenty of strong language and dark humour.
The set is divided into two pubs, one with a seating area that transforms into a car, and above is a section of the High Level Bridge, where strangers Pearce and Greta (Neil Grainger and Frances McNamee) teeter on the brink of suicide.
Then we have would-be hitmen Ross (Harry Hepple) and Johnny (James Baxter) – more Likely Lads than Krays – who need to settle a debt, and a typical girls’ night out captured by Vicky Elliott, Bronagh Taggart and Laura Norton in their portrayals of fed-up teacher Marie, Hannah – who’s like dozens of party-lovers you see in the Bigg Market – and fair-minded Dara, who makes a fateful decision to drink-drive.
Worries, frustrations and hopes are played out in a rush of fast and funny scenes. But there’s real anguish too, especially in Greta who has no ‘reason’ for wanting to kill herself other than that feeling inside which might hide sometimes but is always there.
I do have one – small – niggle: the kind of thing that rankles and seems so easily fixable. If you’re going to translate a play to a new location (and this was originally set in Belfast) then get it right. Don’t mention places – nightclubs in this instance – that are no longer there.
That said, everything about Max Roberts’ production makes for a great drama, right up the last scene. It’s recommended for over-15s.