Full Consent to Speak on My Behalf
- Gareth K Vile
- 9 August 2019
Good Wolf give people with experience of care a dramatic voice
Social enterprise Good Wolf is committed to using theatre to enable vulnerable people to participate in the arts and have their voice heard. Full Consent to Speak on my Behalf is a montage of verbatim conversations with people who have experience of care, and manages in 50 minutes to cover a remarkable range of experiences, both positive and negative. At a ferocious pace, the cast of four maintain an optimistic attitude, giving voice to many who are often deprived of a platform.
The setting is minimal, relying on the dynamic physicality of the cast and their ability to contain the moods and experiences of those who have been part of the care system. While fostering has changed, one theme that remains constant is the sense of instability; the treatment of young people who have reached a nominal age of independence is depicted sensitively through details of their frustration at the sudden removal of support, and the life-long impact is considered through short, revealing reflections. There is even time to ponder the importance of Jacqueline Wilson's fictional character Tracy Beaker, a child in a care home who became a household name thanks to the successful CBBC series.
While Good Wolf's intention is didactic – or at least questioning – their dramaturgy is incisive. With merely a few boxes and comic books for props and set, the ensemble embodies multiple characters and generates a positive atmosphere that finally reflects on the challenges of making verbatim theatre, and the risk of losing the voices of the interviewees beneath the theatricality of the presentation. As a candidate for the Sit Up Awards – which is dedicated to rewarding theatre that is engaged with serious issues – Good Wolf shows appropriate respect for its subjects, never forgetting the need to educate and entertain. The snatches of popular song aren't always enlightening, and sometimes break the energetic flow, but the production achieves its aim to inform with wit and sparkle.
Greenside @ Infirmary Street, until 24 Aug (not 18), 3pm, £7 (£5).