Heroin(e) For Breakfast (4 stars)

This article is from 2009

Heroin(e) For Breakfast

Glamorous, gritty drug drama

It’s 11.40 am real time, perhaps slightly later dramatic time, and before even the stage lights go up we are treated to explicit, morning-gloom sex. But this is not ‘shock tactic’ Fringe theatre. This sex is cartoonish, speeded-up and half-ironic. So too, this tale of young lives lost to drugs, of three flatmates awaiting and attaining Heroin(e), is not what it first seems.

Heroin(e) is heroin personified but not humanised; her iconic Marilyn Monroe dress and silky Hollywood accent tell of a superhuman perfection. She can be everything to everyone (sisterly to washed-up Chloe; supportive of Tommy’s gross delusions) but is also heartless. ‘You all give a fuck about something,’ she tells the audience with a confidence so total it’s disarming, ‘But I don’t give a fuck, not one.’

Like its obvious precursor, Trainspotting, the play combines hallucinatory surrealism with gutter realism, but its use of personification – for me, at least – goes further to portray heroin’s fatal attraction. And fourth wall violation simply highlights the play’s wider relevance: because it’s not just about drugs, but about striving for a perfect, unachievable completeness.

Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, until 30 Aug, 11.40 am, £6.50–£10 (£8–£9).

Heroin(e) for Breakfast

  • 4 stars

A riotous and irreverent look at how heroin can put the Great back into Britain! Three disparate flatmates battle Marilyn Monroe, social morality and democratic hypocrisy, to save England from mediocrity! Sex, drugs and toilet roll!

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