Thursday, 7 May 2009

You Can See the Hills (Young Vic)

This play, this theatre-experience, is the reason for mine and Anna's latest trip to London. Anna saw William Ash perform the one-man show last autumn in the back room of the Manchester Royal Exchange theatre.
Ashy talks you through his teenage years growing up in Oldham (near Manchester- mad for it, etc.). The play was written by Ash's old school friend Matthew Dunster with him in mind to perform it, I wonder how close William Ash is to Adam Ash the character he plays?
For some reason this play has been given a bad review from the Guardian, the closing line was something like this " half the length and twice the concentration, this could be a funny, satisfying evening rather than one that, like Adam's life, goes nowhere very slowly."
For fuck's sake, but this was exactly the point of the play- not the very slowly part, I don't know what the hell that is, I found him enthralling!- but the play is about the fact that there are so many children out there who are intelligent but because of circumstance, surroundings, class, etc. end up as wasted lives! I just don't think the London theatre-goers get it! The audience the night Anna and I went were made up of elderly toffs and very rich very fashionable young toffs. Idiot girls who giggled at the most inappropriate moments and old men who fell asleep!! I couldn't believe it! I mean, the performance was incredible! Ash sat there for two hours just telling us his story and I have memories of each scene he painted stronger in my mind than anything I've physically seen on stage! I could see every one of the characters he mentioned so fucking clearly! How the hell could people fall asleep!? Anna said that the audience in Manchester were all in tears through the traumatic stories, that the audience all spoke to Ash afterwards and told him how much they'd loved it, how good it was, how good he was.
It can't just be that Anna got it because she went to a rough northern comprehensive. It can't just be that I got it because at twelve all my pals (though at the public school) were from Oldham and I stayed the night there- I was exposed to my friend's junkie brother and his mates, her scary mates who probably went to Ashy's comp and, hung out in the park in the middle of the night scared I was going to be killed, and had to listen to her stories of losing her virginity at 13 behind some bins... I quickly made other friends. This is the Oldham Ash talks about. Exactly. But I went there once. You don't have to be from the North or from that working class background to understand what he's talking about, there are rough areas of London! You just have to have seen it! You just have to be aware of it! Who the fuck were the idiots at that play?!
William Ash is a wonderful actor and story teller, this play was a fantastic play, gripping, moving, it was all so fucking true.

No comments:

Post a Comment