Motortown, Exeter University Theatre Company
Reviewed by: Marion Kenny
If you’re looking for an all singing, all dancing, jolly, family friendly show, then be advised to avoid Motortown.This almost entirely unrelentingly dark piece of theatre written by Simon Stephens takes a stark look a violent, despairing, damaged side of humanity.
The central character is a soldier called Danny returning home to England after serving in Basra. The deep psychological scars incurred experiencing war, leave him struggling to return to any sense of normal life and unable to reform close relationships with family or friends.
The entire cast without exception deliver powerful and convincing performances. In one scene when Danny played by James Dartford, and Jade a young girl acted by Mia Hatfield, shows the soldier in chilling, violent, and psychotic mode, you could sense the audience gasp with horror due to their realistic characterisations. The plot and bubble was then however immediately burst due to light hearted, yet totally implausible inclusion of a scene where the soldier just happens to bump into a couple of swingers at a hotel.
Sadly the format of the show became repetitive, with each scene joined by loud house music, which went on, without any fade in or out, with no connection to the plot, merely to presumable disguise the fact that the cast where doing a prop change.
Although as an audience you are aware that Danny is mentally ill, it is hard to feel any sympathy towards him, as he shows no sense of fragility or any redeeming qualities.