Debris at Southwark Playhouse
Fear, repulsion and pity are the three emotions that will fully equip you for an evening of Debris. If you are generally unsusceptible to these emotions then you will find yourself either very bored or sniggering in the back row at how stupid and ridiculous the impoverished can be, and are probably one of those people who crosses the road to avoid the homeless. But if not, then be prepared to feel more than you bargained for in the short space of 65 minutes.
Sorry, a sense of humour will actually be necessary. Because among the pain and the lunacy and the raw obscenities of the play, there are spurges of ludicrous comedy that undercut the miserable state of the two orphan siblings – wretched siblings who have suffered deplorably at the hands of a deranged father who eventually kills himself horrifically, while entirely absent of a mother.
The drama of the play is fantastic – this is raw theatre in its purest form. The space is painted a gritty grey, with a pile of bricks and rubble all that is offered by way of set. But the two actors, Harry McEntire and Leila Mimmack, counter this sterile design with their alarming energy and disturbed characters. Movements are erratic, violent, subdued and nervous, mapping the progression of their story as they weave it out, supporting each other through to the end. It’s truly a theatric masterpiece.
When watching Debris you feel like you have broken into a world that is off-limits, x-rated, hidden from the sane, functioning public because it shows a world that voting citizens aren’t supposed to see, like an undercover documentary of “What Really Happens in the Slums”. All at once it makes you feel vulnerable, appalled and anxious – but also all soft and melted inside, because even though these characters have rarely known happiness or peace, they can still damn well can put on an entertaining show.
Photo: Richard Davenport
Debris is at Southwark Playhouse until 17th May 2014. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.