One of the joys of the Edinburgh Fringe festival is discovering a young theatre company and watching them develop
over the years. In previous years we've seen companies that are now selling out Theatres in the West End and
Broadway and we're sure that some of the companies we've seen play in the last year or so have the potential to
start doing the same. Our hope for 2018 is Fourth Wall Theatre and their production of "Yen" by Anna Jordan.
As we take our seats in the intimate C Cubed (which for the 2nd year running I had trouble finding) we find Hench
and Bobbie sitting shirtless on the floor with their play station. Gradually we discover they are having to fend for
themselves, basically by nicking what they can in a town on the outskirts of London. They have virtually been
abandoned by their mother, whose current partner wants to have nothing to do with them and their dog.
When she does appear she is drunk and needy so you have the unnerving sight of her 2 teenagers sons having to take care of her. The only bright light on their horizon is neighbour Jenny who quickly forms an attachment with Hench. Unfortunately, it is not too unexpected when events take a dramatic turn for the worse, though there is a little optimism at the end. This is bleak stuff throughout and these characters aren't always easy to like or to empathise with. But, the quality of the writing and the performances are of such a high level that you can't fail to feel to be emotionally touched by the situations eg when you realise that Bobbie (Jack Firoozan) is just a lonely frightened 13 year old, that Hench (Danny Parker) is forced to be the father figure of the family and doesn't know how to deal with kindness, Maggie (Louisa Mathieu) the mother who's best isn't enough with Gayaneh Vlieghe bringing Jenny's resilience and forgiveness to life without saying a word.
"In your face" productions can be difficult to cope with and this isn't always an easy watch but my goodness am I glad I did. As well as applauding the cast and the writer credit must go to directors Hetty Hodgson and Alice Clarke who use what little space and set they have brilliantly.
So, if you want to see something hard-hitting but rewarding THIS is the show to see this festival. If you don't, you might have to wait until it's selling out the West End to battle for a ticket!
Not to be missed.
Yen is at C Cubed until August 25th
C Venues - C Cubed (Venue 50) 12.20