8 May 2017

Fracked at Richmond Theatre was a pleasant surprise

I went to see Fracked! with modest expectations and left pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting a comedy by the numbers, which I quite happily paid £26 to see from my usual seat Dress Circle  Row A  Seat 25, and that is very much what the first half delivered.

It felt like watching an ITV sitcom with some simple characters of which the Public Relations consultant to the energy company was the most prominent as he oozed smarminess. He was definitely the man we were all meant to hate. The two named stars were the ones we loved, she (Anne Reid) accidentally became prominent in the local anti-fracking team and he (James Bolam) was the hapless husband struggling to keep up with her and with the modern world.

I went for my ice cream at half-time happy with what I had seen but not particularly stretched by it.

Then in the second-half added some bit and significantly lifted itself above the ITV sitcom level. The stakes became higher, the PR consultant became a lot nastier and the drama became a lot more political. Then there was something for my brain to do as well as my funny-bone. The PR consultant, played brilliantly by Harry Hadden-Paton, became the star of the show to the extent that I saw his name on later posters for the play.

I was expecting Fracked to be a light comedy and I would have been happy with that. It turned out to be darker and deeper and I was even happier with that.

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