S.E.N.

Holly McKinlay

No Prophet Theatre Company

Bedlam Theatre

From 05 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Catherine Lamm

S.E.N. takes place in an intervention of a South East London School.  This is one of two shows that No Prophet Theatre Company has on in the Fringe. Both S.E.N. and Wasted which is about date-rape have a political and sociological theme.

Taylor is the wounded bully who spends her school career in trouble or trying to stay out of trouble with little success. She's a veteran at detention, takes control and tries to keep control of the session.

The very savvy Aalia is new to intervention but very much on to Taylor. She’s very mature and used to blocking the mudslinging.

And Taylor doesn’t limit herself to Aalia. The Teacher is new meat. The Teacher is rather new to the school and teaching and is trying to talk himself into being glad of it.

The fact that Taylor is a white racist and Aalia is of Pakistani background is melody but bullying in the educational system is the song.

We get a clear insight into these characters although the balance is weakened in the character development of The Teacher. The best moments come when we see that Aalia is the mature one, in control, because she has sussed out Taylor’s soft underbelly. She doesn’t want to play the game but, once engaged, lets us know that the play field is not what it appears.

The direction is, for the most part, clean and sharp. Akial Cristiano is haunting as Aalia. Wesley Lineham does his best with weakly written character, The Teacher. But it is the non-stop “on” of Olivia Duffin that makes this such a jewel of a play.