Vera Vera Vera by Hayley Squires – Royal Court Theatre – Review

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The play opens with a torrent of foul language from the character Sammy, from there it descends into a brief look at varying characters lives, that are linked in a somewhat tenuous way to Bobby, a British soldier killed on a recent tour of Afghanistan.

This is Hayley Squires first play, and to be honest it shows. It feels clunky and the reliance on foul language makes it a shallow piece (cutting the bad language would make the play about a third shorter, there’s that much). Towards the end, probably the last 15 mins of the play we start to see signs of depth and we begin to see that Hayley Squires certainly can write with care and attention it was a shame it took so long for that to emerge.

Daniel Kendrick’s performance as Lee was a highlight, as he dealt with the bullying of Danny and his feelings for Emily. The rest of the cast did well with the script they’d been given.

Daniel Kendrick as Lee

I’m not trying to be overly harsh, for someone’s first play this was a good attempt. It just wasn’t good enough. Yes it may be “realistic” or show us a picture of “urban teenage angst”, or it could just be a portrayal of potty mouthed, violent thugs, druggies and a whore, with an over reliance on the F word as a way of filling time and space. I’ve seen some engaging plays featuring characters with the above foibles, but this one left me feeling distanced and gave me no reason to want to connect or care about them.

I’m sure she’ll learn from this and I hope her next work shows that and I’ll be interested to see it, because there were moments in this that I thought worked well, her sense of humour came across and the final two scenes certainly engaged me, it was just too little, too late.

STARS : * * (and a half)

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