Heritage - Review By Evie Wakefield

Written by Dafydd James – Award-winning writer, composer and performer, working in both English and Welsh.
Performed by Stopsley High School
I saw this play on the 31st March 2014 (Royal & Derngate Theatre, Northampton), as a part of the ‘National Theatre Connections 2014’ programme.

The play is set on May Day and a group of young people have been specially chosen to close the day’s festivities; but as they gather together in uniform to rehearse the village anthem, all is not well.

The performance begins with a young woman, who believes is related to Anne Frank, singing a quite difficult operatic piece.
Other characters are introduced gradually:
  • ·        Tubbsy, who’s hiding a dead cat in his bag
  • ·        Deirdre-May, grieving for her late Nanna
  • ·        Mark, dressed in a dinosaur onesie
  • ·        An American girl who changes her name.
  • ·        Creepy twins who sit on pedestals with loudhailers and notebooks.
  • ·        And a lot of ensemble.

The rehearsal never happens as there are always distractions. Eventually they begin to suspect that they’ve been chosen for a far darker purpose…

During the play, the audience learns more about darker side of nationalism. Heritage is described as ‘…a blistering black comedy…’ however I found much more offensive then funny, due to the often racist/homophobic language that made me want to stand up and walk out of the theatre. There was also the use of a Ouija Board in several scenes (which made a lot of the audience uncomfortable).

The artforms involved in this production were drama, a little comedy, music, vocals and sound effects (which gave the impression of them all in a submarine instead of a meeting place on land).

I didn’t really have a favourite aspect of this play; my main memory is one of discomfort.

actors remembered their lines and projected them well.

I would recommend this for anyone over 16+ who like challenging/original theatre and who aren’t offended by strong language and themes.

-Evie Wakefield