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Review: Gutted (Theatre Royal Stratford)

We didn’t think scenes of a sexual nature would shock us, but they really did in Rikki Beadle-Blair’s latest powerful, and unexpectedly funny, production.

Venue: Theatre Royal Stratford

Running Time: Two and a half hours.

Director: Rikki Beadle-Blair

Now, we are no stranger to the work of writer and director Rikki Beadle-Blair. Having previously seen and reviewed some of his other brilliant work, we were eager to see what Rikki had in store for us this time round. Gutted, hosted at the Theatre Royal Stratford until the end of May, surely didn’t disappoint and is one his most thought provoking productions yet. There was no holding back for Rikki on this one, with scenes of an adult nature and the c-bomb dropped at every possible opportunity. Gutted is definitely not for anyone easily offended by the truth.

Bridie (Louise Jameson) and her 3rd eldest Luke (Jamie Nichols)

Bridie (Louise Jameson) and her 3rd eldest Luke (Jamie Nichols).

The story centres around the Prospect family, living on the council estates of South East London. Looking at the life of Bridie Prospect (Louise Jameson) and her four sons, we take a deep look into family life, secrets, love and what it all means to the Prospect family.  We get a quick introduction to each of the brothers with the story truly unfolding when the eldest brother, Matthew Prospect (James Farrar) publicly reveals a sordid family secret after coming out of rehab.

We get to see the choices each of the brothers have made and how they have shaped their lives living with secrets. We see how a family can accept anything as long as it’s not spoken about. We see four brothers grow up, choose their partners and try to live the life they dreamed they’d live.  The play moves quickly and constantly jumps from the present to the past and vice versa. The script is excellently written and gives a true feel of what South London can be about. Filled to the brim with quirky one liners that only somewhat lighten the intense emotions that is felt from the story, which continues to climb with intensity and keeps you gripped until the very end. The show is quite long, but with everything that’s going on you barely seem to notice the time fly by.

Mark (Frankie Fitzgerald) checking out Matthew's (Mark Farrar) 'war' wounds - photo by Jane Hobson

Mark (Frankie Fitzgerald) checking out Matthew’s (Mark Farrar) ‘war’ wounds.

If we could create a new genre for Gutted, instead of being called a ‘drama’, it would be just simply called ‘life’ as this is what the show is all about. Real life. The entire cast has outdone itself and does not disappoint in delivering some brilliant and believable acting.

Gutted will be showing at the apt Theatre Royal Stratford until 25 May 2013. You can book tickets by calling the Box Office on 02085340310, or in person at Theatre Royal Stratford East, Gerry Raffles Square, London E15 1BN.

Gutted embraces adult themes and contains extremely strong language and scenes of a sexual nature. Therefore it’s advised to be suitable for audiences only aged 16+.

Production images by Jane Hobson. 



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