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Asleep in the cheap seats?

Keen to start my 2020s with something interesting, I happened upon a playwright podcast with Simon Stephens chatting to Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti about her work, including her new play now showing at the Jerwood Downstairs, Royal Court theatre. (See? Sometimes Twitter rabbit-holing comes up with useful references! *)

Mondays are cheap at the Royal Court if you can leap onto the website quickly enough of a morning, and I bagged myself a ticket to see ‘A Kind of People’ last night. I expected it to be a bit ‘worthy’ for my tastes, but the reviews had been pretty good and I decided I need to play a bit less safe this year.

In fact, it was excellent. Hard to listen to some of it, as the characters moved from their apparently easy relationships into societal meltdown. Issues of race and colour were the mainstays here, but pressing all sorts of other buttons: class and ambition; parenting choices and responsibilities; school selection and privilege; gender discrimination and expectation.

I am still not sure what side of some of the arguments was ‘right’ – and perhaps that was the point – I really am not good at this, ask my children! This time I genuinely felt it would have been good to take someone else along with me so we could have had the discussions on the way home. I don’t usually like to do that kind of post-show analysis but perhaps at last I am discovering an intellectual streak.

Probably not though – my Fitbit tells me I slept through the whole performance! Maybe I just dreamed the whole thing? I’ll try harder next time.

NOTE: In fact, the seats at Jerwood Downstairs are really comfortable and I had a decent sight-line to the stage even though I was a long way back. This meant I could sit completely still throughout – no need to fidget around. Although part of me is pleased this Fitbit reading allowed me to achieve (cumulatively and fraudulently) my sleep target for the day, it’s quite ironic, considering that the first mark of a good play, in my normal and decidedly unintellectual review scheme, is if I at no time during the performance feel in danger of nodding off. Sigh.

*Here’s the podcast , if you’re interested

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