Village Idiot

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There is a warning for this play: “Contains very strong language and discusses themes and uses language some may find upsetting relating to class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, sex, gender identity and disability”

This will offend. This will make you inhale sharply as you hear words you were not expecting, you will gasp loudly as you say to yourself ‘did they just say that?’. Depending on your sense of humour you will also laugh, giggle and smirk and still be in shock. This is theatre – it’s supposed to make you have a reaction – we just can’t guarantee it’ll be one you were expecting!

The main story is based around the HS2 route going through the village of Syresham and the conflict between the townies, the villagers and the need for ‘progress’.

Barbara (Eileen Nicholas) has lived in the village for forever and will not move from her house, the bull dozers will have to drag her out in a box. Grandson Peter (Philip Labey) is back for a visit, but only because he’s part of the HS2 consultants and needs to get his Nan out before too long. Barbara’s other grandson Harry (Maximilian Fairley) is in love with Debbie (Faye Wiggan) and just wants to be with her.

Debbie’s Father Kevin (Mark Benton), also a villager has sold up and is going to use the money to go to Thailand with his family and marry Sue, a possible Lady-Boy. Debbie has other ideas and son Liam (Joseph Langdo) isn’t going either as he’s in love with Peter. Intermingled with these easy-to-follow and entertaining storylines is the highlights from the Syresham Village Fair which includes a talent show where we have an fabulous performance of Cher, some questionable magic, and plenty of singing and dancing.

Interspersing the scenes from the Village Fair at the front of the stage worked a treat, it allowed any prop changes on stage to take place. It also gave light relief, added fun and humour to the evening, although there was still swearing in these scenes. The set’s purpose was to create a lovely wooded village and the number of trees which were installed onto the stage certainly gave the right feel.

There were a lot of costume changes as all the cast were pretty much in all the Fair scenes, but this added to the comedy if they took that little bit longer to arrive and join in.

Plenty of story lines to keep you engaged and connected to as you wanted to see what transpired. Under all the offensiveness, which is trying to reflect modern society and to be honest, it’s kinda true. However, do they win and get the HS2 rerouted? What sacrifices needed to be made? And who really are going to be the winners when the humans have f**ked everything up? These answers you’ll get from watching the play, not from me.

This is a pioneering initiative from Ramps on the Moon, a consortium of theatres which aim to enrich stories and the ways in which they are told by putting deaf and disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their work. VILLAGE IDIOT will mark the first new original play staged by the Ramps on the Moon project.

This review appeared on GrapevineLIVE.


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