‘And so, from hour to hour, we ripe and ripe. And then, from hour to hour, we rot and rot; And thereby hangs a tale’ Act II, Scene VII, As You Like It
Starved is a gripping new piece of new writing that explores the life of a young Northern working class couple living at the very bottom of the societal food chain. They are both without money or friends. Squatting in an unused bedsit on one of Hulls roughest estates, they live a hand-to-mouth existence on a diet of cigarettes, vodka and cuppa soups.
Despite their tumultuous relationship, ongoing addictions and deteriorating mental health, they are determined to stay together. But, as the walls start to cave in around them, the unhinged couple must make some tough decisions. They must face up reality: what they have done.
Starved is an emotional roller coaster. Set in the round, the production happens in real time: the audience becomes a fly on the wall for one hour, observing this couple’s difficult life.
This show is utterly engaging from start to finish: you cannot but help hang on to every single word. This is no doubt helped by the outstanding performances from both Alana Eaton and Michael Black. The talented duo make it impossible to not be totally absorbed. Both are perfect comedians but produce intense performances at the drop of a hat. The on-stage chemistry is electric, and adds fire to the fuel which runs this show.
The writing is also one of the ways in which the play is utterly compelling. It perfectly captures the nuances of the couple’s relationships as the conversation seems to slip seamlessly slip from laughter to despair. In just a short hour we get to know the ins and outs of this couple’s dynamic bond. In this way, a sense of urgency underlines the play, which subtly crescendos as their dark history is revealed, and it finally becomes clear why this couple cannot escape their nightmarish reality.
This play is a perfect portrayal of class struggle combined with a captivating story, which is both funny and heart wrenching. The comedy adds light relief, and is juxtaposed next to the dark truths revealed about the pair, making the tale all the more tragic.
Kate Valentine Crisp