Scrounger at Finborough Theatre Online
“I think, no matter who we are, or what we have to overcome in this life, the world is headed towards progress.”
Written and performed by Olivier nominee and Finborough Theatre writer in residence Athena Stevens, Scrounger is a punchy and powerful tale of tolerance, quick wit and determination, based on the real events that unfolded after a London airport damaged a £30,000 wheelchair belonging to Stevens.
Stevens takes on the role of the titular character, Scrounger. Scrounger is ambitious. Scrounger is funny. Scrounger is talented. Scrounger has a widely successful YouTube channel. She also happens to have cerebral palsy. And when her wheelchair is irreparably damaged by airport personnel, she is left housebound, forced to rely on the generosity of her friends and partner, isolated from the world outside her home. In the months that follow, Scrounger waits for justice, detailing her struggle and the subsequent lawsuit to the world through her online platform.
Stevens is magnetic, a masterful storyteller on both the page and the stage, pulling the audience in from the very first minute. Her charismatic and raw performance is further elevated by the accompaniment of Leigh Quinn, whose talent is clearly demonstrated in her apt ability to multi-role. To put it simply, the pair perform brilliantly together, making the performance even more memorable.
What happened to Stevens (both on and off the stage) is not an isolated incident. And though the play has moments of great comedy, they are swiftly followed by moments of great discomfort. Her work is designed to dismantle; to change the way the audience think, to open their eyes to discrimination that they might never have acknowledged previously. It holds you accountable, and encourages you to find a way to change the narrative. With this in mind, it is not necessarily an easy watch, but perhaps an essential one.
Scrounger is a powerful story, bolstered by interesting staging and lighting design, and works to shed light on the difficulties that many members of the disabled community face on a daily basis. It is a story that demands to be heard – and rightly so.
Photo: Nick Rutter
Scrounger is available to view on the Finborough Theatre’s YouTube channel from 1st August until 3rd August and on 31st August 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.