Simon Stephens
Traverse 1

It sometimes seems as if Simon Stephens is taking over the world. Only three days after his adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time opened at the National, here he is with another premiere, north of the border.

This short, devised work plays in Traverse 1 a prelude to a jaunt at the Lyric, Hammersmith, whose Young Company have been instrumental in its creation.

Like the paper boat that failed to catch fire at the opening performance, Morning never really ignites. It feels like a rather tame attempt to stage a teen horror movie, influenced by the In-Yer-Face genre so much favoured by director, Sean Holmes.

The central figure is 17-year-old Stephanie played by the pick of this young cast, the very promising Scarlet Billham. Life may be tough with mother fast losing her battle against cancer but Steph’s reactions are closer to immoral than amoral.

Within a stage hour, she steals an MP3 player from her brother to give to a friend departing for Uni, with Jona Nastari as Cat puts her loyal boyfriend through an experience as unforgettable for the audience as Ted Reilly’s Stephen and then hits on another friend’s man.

The play is performed on a stage that looks like a rehearsal room and uses sometimes witty metaphorical imagery, an apple and wastebin each suffering as a result.

A final nihilistic outburst aptly includes the phrase “Everybody wants a message and there is none”.

Reviewer: Philip Fisher

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