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Review: Fat Jewels, at Hope Theatre

Marginalised males come together in extraordinary ‘dark surreal tragi-comedy’ set on a council estate in South Yorkshire

13 July, 2018 — By Jack Courtney O’Connor

Hugh Train and Robert Walters in Fat Jewels. Photo: Laura Harling

THE London-based writer Joseph Skelton’s latest piece came to the Hope Theatre from the Southwark Playhouse.

The author known for curious titles such as The Druid’s Horse and Badgers Can’t Be Friends has written a play set on a council estate in South Yorkshire concerning two marginalised males: Pat (Hugh Train) a young lad living with his mother, who is having frightening dreams which are turning into nightmares, and Danny (Robert Walters), a middle-aged drunk whose family have left him.

Danny claims to have a therapeutic solution to Pat’s problems. Pat initially goes along with Danny’s bizarre therapy but gradually becomes aware that Danny has a hidden agenda.

The play is billed as a “dark surreal tragi-comedy” and echoes Harold Pinter’s earlier work The Room. Skelton has named Jez Butterworth as an influence.

However, I can see the repressed anger of these marginalised individuals who no doubt would have voted for Donald Trump if they were living in New Hampshire and not South Yorkshire.

Islington’s “little theatre with big ideas” certainly does punch above its weight and director Luke Davies adds much pace visual interest to this extraordinary production.

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