REVIEW: Crushed (The King’s Head Theatre)

Crushed-445x350The King’s Head Theatre in Islington is celebrating the end of its 45th year with a festival of new writing. #Festival45 gives twenty three young companies the opportunity to showcase new work.

Crushed by Tim Cook won Best New Play at Brighton Fringe 2015; Cook is joined by Hatty Jones and Amani Zardoe in this tale of three university friends and their journey to adulthood.

Sam, Amy and Hannah meet at university; bright eyed and naïve, enjoying the freedom of student life before the realities of work, mortgages and grown-up relationships kick in. We meet these characters through well written monologues and conversations as their friendships develop. Their ideals are tested through student protests and in real life post-graduation. We see them crushed by riot police then crushed by their life choices.

All three actors are comfortable in their roles; Hatty Jones as party girl Amy drawn into politics by strident Hannah draws the eye whenever she is on stage. What could easily be the third wheel becomes a central force of the action. Cook and Zardoe play the star crossed lovers with ease; their journey from boyfriend and girlfriend to husband and wife is well crafted.

The simple set is sufficient for this short play; the scenes are drawn through the language of the play and the skill of the acting. Good use of lighting moves us from scene to scene, drawing the eye to the action as we move backwards and forwards in time to tell the tale.

Cook is a talented writer and this play works well in the small space at The King’s Head. Crushed is well worth a watch if you can catch it during this short run.

Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans