C Nova (Studio 3)
There’s a serious issue at the very heart of this new play – the issue of consent.
Place it at the very heart of this hour-long production and it could have been challenging, powerful and thought provoking.
The ingredients of a storyline are there.
Six students arrive to flat share at the start of a new term.
Five of the six know each other while newcomer, Milo, is the best friend of one of them. He is warned not to sleep with any more of her friends.
Set over an indeterminate period, they go to classes, go out, get wasted, take some drugs, eat cold pizza the morning after, and watch Jeremy Kyle and shout at his gormless guests.
All the cliched boxes on student life are duly ticked without every learning much about any of the characters other than their first names and what subjects a few have chosen to study.
All of that seems to take a hefty chunk of the drama – set entirely on a battered old sofa within their flat – to get to that point, leaving little time to fully address the main issue, that of consent.
It happens after Milo and Callie get together, and then he cheats on her, using the get-out excuse ‘‘we were on a break.’’
The ties that bind remain, and, after another night out, she tells him to stop. He doesn’t.
The devastating impact of that just isn’t fully explored.
There’s an all too brief shouting match filled with accusations and some painful, unflinching words of blame, but it’s barely one scene instead of being at the heart of the drama and showing the fall-out, the recriminations and the ripples among all six flat-mates as their bonds were shattered if not entirely severed, as well as telling the stories of Milo and Callie.
Instead, within minutes the cast are taking their bows, and you’re heading to the exit.
Crazed raises a hugely important issue, but doesn’t fully tackle it.
Had it done so, it might have worked much better.
And it may have had a tighter focus with fewer characters too.
Run ends August 29