‘Cathy’ Review – Soho Theatre
So here’s something we recommend – not because of the strident ‘life’s tough if you’re homeless’ message, not because of the irony that there are apparently more people employed in homeless charities than there are homeless – or that the money London homeless charities receive each year would easily pay to accommodate all the London homeless if they wanted a home (don’t get me started!) – no, see ‘Cathy’ because there’s some bloody good acting going on!
It’s probably not fair to highlight any one of Alex Jones, Amy Loughton, Cathy Owen or Hayley Wareham but I’m the one with the virtual pen so hey, Hayley Wareham as the young kid excels, as do the many faces of Amy Loughton, as does … you get the picture.
‘Cathy’ seeks to show the world how much has changed for the homeless in the fifty years since the days of Ken Loach’s ‘Cathy Come Home’. You’ll be pleased to know it’s still pretty shit if you’re homeless, people in authority don’t give a toss – and no-one wants to move to Newcastle. Nothing changes – absolutely bloody nothing.
The show all seems a bit one dimensional – kinda life’s a bitch and then you die – until you realise that when seen as Director Adrian Jackson meant the show to be seen, ‘Cathy’ is actually probably outstanding. You see, it’s designed as a piece of forum theatre (me neither) and so the audience is given the opportunity to interject as the play goes along and suggest alternative strategies for the actors to adopt. Better yet – the contributor gets the chance to act out their suggestion. Sounds brill. No really!
Unfortunately, in the Soho Theatre performance, this leavening is replaced by a quick Q&A session at the end where the audience suggest how life for the homeless can be made better (by voting for Jeremy Corbyn apparently). These suggestions are written down for future reference and use by Cardboard Citizens, the charity behind the show.
So if you want to see some excellent acting – or want to better understand why the Tories aren’t keen on funding theatre or the arts, get yourself to the Soho Theatre – or better yet keep an eye out for one of the few forum theatre presentations.
Rumoured to be the final run for this show – until of course it comes back in 50 years time to show us how nothing has changed.
Whatever, it’s a privilege to have seen Cathy in any manifestation. There but for the grace of God, eh.