Vincent cuts carotid arteries for a living. He's slaughtered hundreds of thousands of animals over the years and no one has batted an eyelid. However, when 17-year-old Rob, a local nuisance, is murdered, only Vincent refuses to join the hysteria.
With the killer still at large, the rest of the town pours out its collective grief and thinks of vengeance. Raw but gutsy, Jimmy Osborne's full-length debut goes for the jugular and just misses. His gradual exposure of the central mystery of Rob's death holds our attention, but this play is not taut enough yet.
Where it's bad, it's hard to stomach. It feels original but large chunks are contrived or unconvincing and some meat-related vocabulary is definitely overcooked. Graham Turner's brilliantly humane performance as Vincent helps Osborne get away with it – but 'Meat' needs another run through the mincer.
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4 / 5
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A startingly bleak examination inside the psyche of a middle-aged northern man desensitised by his repulsive job and its detrimental effect on his family. The virtual canonisation of a local hoodie and glorification after death is another topic well tackled. Difficult to watch at times but heart-felt, hard-hitting and humourous at others. A well-made, well-written, well-acted, production. Recommended.