Letter to Boddah
- Gareth K Vile
- 27 August 2019
This article is from 2019
A tense hour on radicalisation
Billy and Neil (Sam Glen and Jordan Reece) are a pair of deeply alienated young men, who have ended up in a Tesco toilet, preparing for a supermarket massacre. Torn between sympathy for the duo who feel excluded from society, and the terse recognition that they are about to become murderous terrorists, Sarah Nelson's script ranges across the wastelands of working-class male culture and argues for compassion even as the protagonists wind themselves up into a death-cult frenzy.
Glen and Reece give the script a violent energy: even in their melancholic or doubting moments, Billy and Neil are fizzing with rage and disorientation. Their lives have been hard – a father who beats his son, another who killed himself – and their disappointment at the opportunities offered to them is palpable, but the script never lets the audience forget that the pair are both potential killers and, in so many ways, naive to the point of stupidity.
They take turns being the leader and the follower, the man of vision and the man of doubt, each time winding themselves to the point of fury and hiding their compassion beneath bravado or outrage. It is a tough, loud hour that depicts radicalism without flinching, and asks questions about the culture that allows it to thrive.
C venues, run ended.