(Alfred Hickling’s article appeared in the Guardian, 2/24.)
Anna Jordan’s Bruntwood prize-winning play takes place in a filthy flat where 16-year-old Hench and his 13-year-old brother Bobby live alone gawping at video games and violent porn while taking turns to wear the single T-shirt in their possession. There’s no adult supervision, though their mother occasionally shambles over from her latest boyfriend’s place and announces her arrival by passing out in a diabetic coma.
It’s the kind of grim, beneath-the-breadline scenario in which you think you know what you’re in for – until the transformative appearance of Jennifer, a practical, animal-loving Welsh girl who shows concern for the brothers’ neglected dog (named Taliban “because he’s vicious … and brown”). Bearing plastic toys, bargain buckets of fish fingers and a wisdom in excess of her years, she succeeds in taming both Taliban and his semi-feral owners.