Jonny Leigh-Wright, Josh Casswell, Laura Kirman, Martina Horrigan, Nicola Sanderson, Adam Patrick Boakes and Warwick Evans in Confetti Photo: Carlos J Conway
Published: 4 October, 2012
by TOM NANCOLLAS
IN the back room of the Map Café in Grafton Road, Kentish Town, Confetti has been revived for its 20th anniversary this year, having been performed to acclaim upon its release in 1992.
It’s about a northern town during a slump: the dreary inescapableness of the place, the two-bit rivalries, loyalties and grinding poverty that anybody who has grown up in a small town will know like the back of their hand.
This is married to a narrative of love, of longing, and of two girls’ desire to flee the mediocrity to which they might otherwise be condemned.
Linda, a 15-year-old with occult tastes, decides to leave home for London.
On her way she calls by a pub and meets Jackie, drinking alone. She’s about to get hitched to Spike, a knuckle-dragging chauvinist, who has been sent out to buy confetti.
Seeing that she teeters on the precipice of marital damnation, Jackie befriends Linda and pours out her heart to her, and Linda reciprocates.
The intensity of their dialogue is offset by secondary characters: the pub regulars, the hard-as-nails barmaid, and an impressive actor who plays, variously, a blind man, a gameshow host, a drunk and a burger van cook.
Director Helen Sheals, the original Linda, clearly knows her way around this snappy script, and coaxes some good performances from it.
But does this play have a message, apart from the mawkish urge to follow one’s dreams?
At first it appears not. The play ends uncertainly, and the confetti of the title is always thrown in jest rather than in earnest.
But although there are moments of undisguised despair, it’s difficult not to like this play, which is as warm-hearted as the small town comforts it criticises.
Perhaps the message might be: better the devil you know.
UNTIL OCTOBER 10
0207 916 0545