First night review
Liverpool, England – 3rd November 2021
The Young Everyman Playhouse’s performance of Soapbox is not for the faint hearted: for those whose political persuasion is more blue than red, or for those of a certain generation who struggle to understand the importance of inequality in all its forms, this is a difficult watch.
This brilliantly quirky, fast-paced and cleverly written show, tackles issues as diverse as the continued subjugation of women to the impact of peddling of disinformation.
With COP26 under way just up the road in Glasgow, the simple messaging around climate change, delivered by a generation whose demands can no longer be ignored, was portrayed with endearing simplicity by two young actors climbing onto a leaky wooden box to escape the rising sea levels.
Even testing for COVID-19 and the fierce rivalry between Everton and Liverpool Football Clubs does not avoid this casts’ perfectly executed attention.
There were moving moments too, when two female actors described the impact of losing their mothers to cancer, summed up by the line “I’ve been going around and around the anger roundabout trying to find the acceptance exit.” Powerful stuff.
But for a 90 minute piece of theatre, devised and rehearsed in only 6 weeks, it was an incredibly powerful insight to what this generation of young people believe to be the most pressing issues of the day. It is hard not to agree with their message.
The minimal prop list, booming dance music, and the effective use of the moving image projected onto a large screen, often through the actors on the stage, enabled the audience to focus on the show’s core message; “To express your opinions about a particular subject forcefully”.
There was some delightful mimicking of our current political class, including emphasising the absurdities of our national response to the pandemic; this performance covered a lot of ground.
Unashamedly tough on the privileged few, highly critical of the perpetrators of misogyny, this show pulled no punches. Although gritty at times it was overwhelmingly hopeful in nature and deeply thought provoking for the viewer.
And, yes, funny too.