Benet Catty Productions

Debris - Edinburgh 2011

Aug 16, 2011

Whatsonstage **

This is a play about the kind of people one hopes never to have to spend too much time with.
Michael (Will Hughes), who stares at us intently as we take our seats (I could have done without that), finds a baby in a rubbish heap and names him Debris (“sounds French, girls get into posh schools with names like that”). But acquiring a son does nothing to halt the anger issues which he and his sister Michelle (Lily Knight) are working through regarding their parents.

The script by Dennis Kelly (an acclaimed writer whose adaptation of Matilda for the RSC will deserve its huge success when it transfers to London this autumn) has its moments, including a compelling monologue for Michelle towards the end placing their lives in the context of human evolution.

But the performances can’t make us (or at least me) care about these people. The production, linking scenes with white noise and television sets, all felt a bit undergraduate. To be fair, though, a loyal audience lapped it up.

“God is on the edge of his seat dribbling with anticipation”, we’re told at one point. Well, I wasn’t with him.

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