Dirty Special Thing at the Platform
This is why the arts need funding. In a culture where only a privileged few can afford an acting ambition, it is refreshing to hear of a scheme such as Generation Arts, which affords those without silver spoons theatrical opportunity.
Not only do the performers here have something to say, but they say it with courage, conviction and comedy. Dirty Special Thing is an ensemble-devised production which weaves a tapestry of London, its characters, and their foibles. Cab drivers, rough sleepers and struggling students jostle for attention as stories are told on a stage that need few props and only performers. The production highlights political and personal problems of contemporary London with wit and vigour, making the everyday extraordinary.
Stand-out stars include a Big Issue seller with a big heart, refusing to descend to the level of the city-slicker bullies, Jodi the class clown, who has more comic ability than one show can contain, and an anxious call-centre gal-pal. This is a seemingly minor role brought to life with an actress whose stage presence far surpasses her stage time.
However, the night belongs to the entire ensemble, dancing transitions with seamless stagecraft, creating a theatrical mosaic with meaning behind the gloss. The NHS, the care system and higher education are all name-checked smoothly with hilarious and cutting precision, alongside many local and topical references.
As always there are faults one can pick at: the musical numbers seem unnecessary and are largely drowned out by backing track, and some roles are underwritten considering the talent on show. The high-class escort in particular deserves more material to chew on, primping and preening whilst hitting the comic sweet spot, but is largely overlooked in terms of stage time and script substance.
Yet what has been created here, whatever the niggles or minor imperfections, is nothing short of remarkable. This cast, wise beyond their years with focus, ability and drive, have defied the economic climate to prove themselves not just talented, but worth listening to. The future of theatre is calling from the wings.
Dirty Special Thing is on at Platform Theatre from 3rd June until 6th June 2015, for further information or to book visit here.