Time Out says
Set on a riverbank of deoxygenated Thames mud, Vicky Donoghue's debut play finds three Essex teens, similarly starved of oxygen, dragged downwards by inexorable forces.
Like a suburban 'Reservoir Dogs', 'Mudlarks' picks up on the aftermath of an act of impulsive, stupid violence, as the boys responsible shrink from the sounds of passing police cars and flick recriminations at one another like switchblades.
Donoghue asks all the right questions: there's something uglier than macho posturing and festering boredom at play here. But as her characters ricochet between paranoia and nostalgia, the most fascinating ideas are allowed to sink out of sight.
The grouping of redeemable bully, kind hearted moron and college-bound escapee is too convenient, and as Donoghue's language becomes more florid the play's naturalism betrays itself for a bland and unconvincing lyricism.
Fortunately, taut direction from Will Wrightson and a terrific cast makes up for the script's occasional failings. James Marchant is particularly brilliant as the bullying Charlie, bristling with a fragile aggression and pain that jut through his swagger like shards of scrap metal.