The Political History Of Smack And Crack At Soho Theatre: Review
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Too many productions earning acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival make the kamikaze trip to London where, without the gentle moan of bagpipes on the breeze and the grateful relief of a damp and harried audience, they crash and burn. Only the odd one or two break through the jaded exasperation of the London audience, and. The Political History of Smack and Crack is one such production. Its pacey plot braided around historical vignettes set in hard-as-nails Manchester manages to hit just about every nail on the head.
The piece weaves the personal stories of two Mancunian down-and-outs, Mandy and Neil, around the historical vignettes about the introduction of heroin and crack cocaine to the UK by Margaret Thatcher. Produced in collaboration with local charities, the aim is clearly to show the very soft and human core of drug dependency and the slippery slope to be climbed in recovery. The refreshing simplicity of just two people in an unadorned space keeps the focus squarely on the powerful performances by Eve Steele and Neil Bell as Mandy and Neil.
Presenting a play about drug use and homelessness that doesn’t hark back to school assembly productions is a tricky task. By combining realistic yet likeable characters with a blazing portrayal of their social context, The Political History of Smack and Crack manages to hit all the right high notes and leave us wanting more.
The Political History of Smack and Crack, Soho Theatre, 21 Dean Street, W1D 3NE. Tickets from £15, until 22 September 2018.
Last Updated 10 September 2018