Modern problems at Alphabetti

Published: 11 March 2019

Between Wednesday 20 and Saturday 30 March, three productions at Newcastle’s Alphabetti Theatre will examine three modern problems: drinking culture, that voice inside your head which "tells you what a worthless piece of shit you are" and the problem of cyber bullying.

First up is a revival of An Evening with Savvy B, created by Hannah Walker and Rosa Postlethwaite and performed by Hannah Walker, on 20 and 21 March at 7:30. In it, Savvy B (Hannah Walker) takes a comic look at who we become when we drink and what it takes to sparkle and along the way it features live drinking, the re-release of Hannah’s single that she made when she was sixteen (and thought was really good) and a hearty mouthful of public shaming.

Then on the Friday and Saturday of the same week, Garry Kitching (co-author and one of the performers of Bacon Knees and Sausage Fingers—he’s Sausage Fingers) presents Me and Mr C, a disturbing rendering of what it is like to have a voice in your head that explains to you with authority, purpose and well referenced arguments, that "you are a worthless piece of shit", an experience with which many in the audience may be able to sympathise.

"This show is completely improvised—it's different every performance,” says Alphabetti’s Artistic Director, Ali Pritchard. “It's unique and wonderful. I am so excited to have it back at the theatre."

The following week, from Tuesday to Saturday, brings a new production of Enda Walsh’s Chatroom, a 75-minute play that explores the causes and consequences of cyber-bullying and is an explicit portrayal of the issues of teenage life. It is directed by Pritchard and features an all-female cast of students from the SA Performing Arts Centre in Newcastle.

It’s 2004 and six teenage characters communicate only via the Internet. Conversations range in subject from Britney Spears to Willy Wonka to—suicide. According to the BTG's London editor Philip Fisher, who reviewed the show at the National Theatre in 2006, Enda Walsh’s play, “takes the simple concept of the teen chatroom to a scary but all too credible conclusion” and has “great comedy and surprising depth.”

Peter Lathan