David Dipper’s first play was premiered at the Soho Theatre in 2004; no mean feat for a 21 year old. His play is now brought to Etcetera Theatre in Camden by Break Point Theatre, an emerging theatre company with a vision to prove that young actors can tackle serious issues with compassion, maturity and respect.
This isn’t a play about poker; poker is the common bond that brings these otherwise disparate characters together around the ever present table. None of these characters are nice people; each one has their dirty secrets, revealed through conversations and monologues as we spend less than an hour in their company. You could say that bad things happen to bad people but this play is not so straightforward; we don’t want to believe that anyone deserves to be cheated on or deceived or even to die, yet these characters are hard to like. Is it the poker that makes them bad or are they drawn to poker because they are inherently bad people?
Flush is a challenging play to watch; the five young actors rise to the challenge of the difficult subject matter, drawing the audience into their dark and twisted world. The actors are never all on stage at the same time; they deliver the lines with ease, building their lives and lies before us convincingly. The play is short and leaves a lot unsaid but this serves to leave us wanting to know more rather than being bored of the tale.
The play works well in the small space; this is a play about people not places and there are no distractions from the acting apart from wondering how long it takes to put the cards in order so the right player wins each hand. The lighting cleverly moves the action from indoors to out despite the actors standing a few feet away from each other. Blackouts and musical interludes help to move the scenes along quickly as we race through the tale.
Flush is an impressive first play by a young writer and it has aged well in the eleven years since it was first performed. It addresses some difficult issues and some scenes are hard to watch and listen to. It will challenge the views and morals of many but that’s what Break Point Theatre has set out to do.
Reviewed by Rhiannon Evans
Photo: Julianna Kurokawa
Flush is playing at the Etcetera Theatre 2-3 October 2015. Click here for tickets