A taut piece of modern drama about broken homes and broken lives,
Vincent and Brown have created a frequently thrilling piece of theatre that showcases its exciting young theatrical talent.
From the start, the pace of Elliot Brown’s production is unrelentingly high. Norton, Mina and Dean (Norton’s pregnant girlfriend and best mate respectively) career from one confrontation to the next with explosive speed and energy – even the quieter scenes are charged with the tense knowledge that things may kick off at any moment. The dialogue is quick, often very funny and supremely effective in the hands of this brilliant young company. Firth bursts uncontrollably, perfectly, around the stage, Norton’s disillusionment writ large across his face. Roanna Lewis is similarly excellent, portraying Mina with great strength and sensitivity. Her final monologue is one of the show’s highlights: emotional, passionate and full of the rage and naivety of youth. The backdrop for this not-so-teenage angst is Rhys McDowall’s effectively minimal set: a suspended window and a door which stands alone, a deconstructed family home that shows no sign of recovery.
The piece loses its way slightly in the final third when it briefly and distractingly directs its anger towards televised misery squabbles in the vein of Jeremy Kyle. Norton’s increasingly violent outbursts also mean that we don’t feel as sympathetic towards him as perhaps we would like to. These faults are small; the class divide and social deprivation driving the characters forwards is never far from the surface, ensuring the play remains politically relevant.
Red Tap/Blue Tiger reimagines the Angry Young Man for the 21st century. Norton is disenfranchised from his family, doubtless seen as feral by those above him yet smart enough to see his life for what it is. Vincent and Brown have created a frequently thrilling piece of theatre that showcases its exciting young theatrical talent.