4/5 Stars

★★★★ An antidote to Christmas cheer, but brimming with empathy

Abigail Bryant reviews FCUK'D at The Bunker, Southwark.

By nature of its name, FCUK’D doesn’t scream festive cheer – and Niall Ransome’s hour-long monologue certainly approaches Christmas spirit from an alternative angle.

Set in Hull, FCUK’D explores child homelessness against the bitter December cold and an unfair, seemingly relentless political system. Switching between childhood reminiscence and bleak reality, Will Mytum enacts and narrates the bleak tale of one seventeen-year old embroiled in a desperate and troublesome situation against the authorities.

Christmas time brings with it a glaring spotlight on family dynamic, and is a perfect context for emphasising the dysfunctional basis of this narrative. Ransome’s writing explores class, masculinity and national identity really coherently and in a way that evokes empathy beyond the parameters of anything too sentimental or romantic. FCUK’D addresses the human side of poverty, and by doing so challenges stereotypes and equips us to consider a level of complexity that it’s important to think about.  Unfortunately, the dialogue includes far too much rhyme, and this detracts from the authenticity of the character, with some language feeling shoehorned to fit the verse, which is a shame because the storytelling is strong enough and interesting enough to stand alone.

Mytum is compelling as the protagonist (aptly named ‘Boy’), and his visceral and philosophical response to the physical elements add another dimension to him, as he expresses poetic awe at rain and fire throughout his journey. Although the morals of his actions are questionable, and his motives are complex, the audience cannot help but care about the outcome, which builds apprehension towards a dramatic and emotional climax. The productions’ music (by Peter Wilson) and lighting (Jess Bernberg) are both invaluable to the overall impact of the play, and work really well alongside Mytum’s narration.

Just like all good storytelling, FCUK’D evokes empathy and a sense of catharsis. While the city of London is saturated in warmth, cheer and December indulgence, it’s especially important to consider those less fortunate and extend the power of human bonds to those in less fortunate situations, or at least try to understand what they’re going through.

FCUK’D is playing at The Bunker until 30th December

Categories: 4/5 Stars, review

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