Tuesday, 9 February 2016

"Any Means Necessary"
Nottingham Playhouse.

Based on actual events as told to writer Kefi Chadwick, this play is really one that is going to catch your attention. It tells the story of the activist movement leading up to the Ratcliffe on Soar power station incident. The activists become suspicious that the police always seem to be present on many of the previous protests, leading them to come to the conclusion that there must be a spy within their group.

That's just the tip of the iceberg though as this is the story of the undercover police who aim to befriend, marry and even father children with the targeted women, just so that they can infiltrate the group to find out where the protests will happen and close them down. Some of these relationships lasting for decades, and all the while leading double lives. The undercover police have families of their own, who also have no idea of their husband's and father's jobs, knowing the bare minimum of what they do. Often these men are away from their real families for months on end deceiving both "families".

What this story also highlights though is the other side of the coin; from the undercover police's point of view. these men are, while being shown as the baddies, they are also the victims of the job they do and their hierarchy, often losing everything by putting their lives on the line for money and the promise of power.

It's a powerful and hypnotizing story which is still being looked into as we speak. 

The cast were amazing,and delivered a truly memorable and believable performance. One I shall not forget for a very long time. The two main characters, Mel (Kate Sissons) and Dave (Samuel Oatley) were mesmerising. Two scenes , for me which really stood out, and for two different reasons , were the one at the start with the "Abba" tribute. This is when the two mains and the two friends, Karen (Lily Lowe-Myers), and Gav (Nicholas Karimi) come together at the start and present a lovely comedic karaoke scene featuring the song "Take A Chance On Me".

The second couldn't have been more different. When Mel and Dave come back from their holiday, Mel discovers that Dave may not be quite the man she thought he was. You could almost hear an audible intake of breath from the audience. Dave managed to talk his way out of the discovery but the seeds were set.

The women on the interim of this main story are played by Louise May-Newberry and Beatrice Comins.

The set design, by Sara Perks, was modern and visually exciting, combining five different areas and locations in one open area. I loved the impact of the lighting designer (Chris Davey) as fades and sudden blackouts heightened the suspense. Giles Croft proves yet again what a brilliant director he is, keeping the action tight and direct. There's not one second where there's nothing on that stage to keep your mind occupied and active.

Proving that the romantic idea of a spy isn't the 007 type, this play shows that you can't always be sure of the man, or woman, by your side, and if they have a job that takes them away from the home for lengthy periods, are you confident that that person is who you think they are? It's also good that it also shows the effect this sort of thing has on the infiltrator as well as the infiltrated.

"Any Means Necessary" is on at the Nottingham Playhouse until Saturday 20 February 2016.

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