STAGE REVIEW: joey @ Northern Stage, Newcastle (13.06.19) | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Avoiding well-worn, first person accounts of the impact of Thatcher’s Britain, sean burn uses joey (lower case intentional, by the way) as an interesting vehicle to transform traditional descriptions of class war, despair and poverty from being destroyers of society to creators of a rebel alliance.  Part ‘Fight Club’ in its analysis of how ineffective government policies, and a lack of social care, often create anti-heroes, and part punk rock journal; joey’s hard hitting, true tale of life in the 1980s, complete with police brutality, austerity, electro convulsion therapy and elitism, suggests that rebellion is often more effective when delivered through small, non-violent, acts of personal empowerment, rather than large, mostly ineffective, statements.

Brought to life by incredible physical performances from Scott Turnbull and Faye Alyvi, both playing the central character but delivering in different languages (English and British Sign Language), the performances track our central character from early playground activities through to prison, shock therapy and hospitalisation to becoming the ultimate rebellion icon.  Ending with a parable style monologue encouraging us all to ‘be joey’, joey is an impactful show which asks us to consciously consider how our lives, and the way we conduct ourselves, can be used to deliver small, but impactful, protests against ineffective, elitist, government policies.  Brutal, hard-hitting and deeply thought provoking. 

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