untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play
Rating: ★★★
Venue: The Young Vic Theatre, London
Cast: Jeff D'Sangalang, Lourdes Faberes, Jennifer Kirby, Mei Mac, Rochelle Rose and Tom Weston-Jones

Kim is having one of those days. A terrible, very bad, no-good kind of day, and the worst part is...it all feels so familiar. Caught up in a never-ending cycle of events, she looks for the exit but the harder she tries, the worse it gets and she begins to wonder: who's writing this story? She makes a break for it, smashing through a hundred years of bloody narratives that all end the same way. Can she find a way out before it's too late? 

It’s very important to me to start by acknowledging that I was not the intended audience for this play, and as a white British person, I was a guest in the space. This means that there were cultural specifics and jokes that I didn’t understand. Having said that, this did not affect my enjoyment of the show one bit! 

Kimber Lee has written a brilliantly funny script with such a clever concept, it’s very different to anything I’ve seen before. Lee hit the mark perfectly, striking a perfect balance between creating a piece of theatre that was largely accessible, while also finding the right moments to nod to the individuals and communities being recognised within the piece.

There was a pretty comprehensive list of content warnings posted on the door (although it is missing a warning for domestic violence) and an information sheet emailed out to all ticket holders a week or so in advance, with much more in depth information. I love that they take the opportunity to own the problematic nature of the show rather than deny it, stating that ‘the inaccuracies and cultural inauthenticity are purposeful and intentional, used to comment on the misrepresentation of Asian culture in Western narratives.’ 

The information sheet is also available on the Young Vic’s website, towards the bottom of the show’s webpage (or just click here!) The sheet contains the list of trigger warnings relating to the actual content of the show, as well as any technical aspects, and a very detailed synopsis of the show. (Click here for my full accessibility review on Euan’s guide)

There were some moments within the play where the active decision was made to create glitches in the sound and lighting. This did not seem to fulfil any particular purpose and I found it rather jarring; it left me feeling detached from the piece. About two thirds of the way through, the show did start to lose me a little. The dynamic on stage changed very suddenly and the fourth wall was broken by a monologue that I found too long. From here, the show broke in and out of the fourth wall continuously, and honestly this didn’t really work for me. It started to give the play a more juvenile feel, which didn’t fit with the rest of the show, and there also began a stream of rapid switches between scenes which made everything rather tricky to follow.

Joshua Pharo’s lighting design was absolutely gorgeous, using the vast capacity of the rig to really bring an extra layer of life and meaning out of the piece. An ‘in-the-round’ space is one of the hardest configurations to design lighting for, yet Pharo does this in a stylised yet very intentional way.

A standout element of the show for me was the on-stage transitions between scenes. The stage management team executed some rather nuanced and complicated scene changes with such precision, that it was a joy to watch and not just moments between the acting, but artistic parts of the show in their own right.

The tickets for this were not gifted, I sat in row D31, and the ticket was £10. The show is advertised as being ‘in the round’ and in a theatre like the Young Vic, it’s definitely worth going for the lower priced seats as the view is generally just as good. 

There are also a select number of ‘Lucky Dip’ tickets on sale for each performance, which are £10 and are allocated based on returns for that performance. There is more information about this on the Young Vic’s website. While I don’t think I’d have wanted to pay much more than I did, I would definitely recommend catching this show it if you get a chance!

You can catch untitled f*ck m*ss s**gon play at The Young Vic until 4th November. Tickets here.

Written by Rachel Sarah Leveney

**photo credit to The Other Richard**

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