Wednesday 15th June 2011
The rude health of contemporary playwriting can be seen in the number of new writers that are beginning to come through, often via the Royal Court’s Young Writers Programme, having their work staged at one of the many fringe venues in London. At the ever-enterprising Theatre 503, Alice Birch’s Many Moons has just finished a successful run. And now you can catch Lola Stephenson’s sharply satirical Nimby at the Old Red Lion. While many young playwrights avoid comedy as an uncool form of theatre, Stephenson has embraced the challenges of making work that is both perceptive and intelligent — and funny too. Nimby is about a middle-class couple, James and Bea, who are into organic food and all the best trendy causes. But when their home is invaded by a diverse group of truly needy individuals (a paranoid, an ex-prisoner and a single mum), they revert to their selfish selves. The play is brightly written, very funny, and takes a hammer to several ossified sacred cows. I liked its acerbic take on ecological cliches, therapy-speak, and the desire to be a do-gooder. The production, by Gravel Theatre Company and Make and Bake, is laugh-out-loud entertaining.
© Aleks Sierz