The Awkward Squad

3 out of 5 stars

Lorna (Barbara Marten) has built a career out of protest: first as a miner's wife politicised by the strikes of the 1980s, later as an outspoken advocate for the rights of her community in the north east.

In recognition of her achievements, she's about to have a community centre named after her, so her family has descended en masse: daughters Pam (Libby Davison), a Bafta-winning documentary maker; Sandy (Charlie Hardwick), a trophy housewife; and granddaughter Sarah (Lisa McGrillis), the proud owner of a brand new pair of breast implants.

'Emmerdale' writer Karin Young set out to pen a play about the gulf between an older generation's feminist principles and those of their daughters and granddaughters. In some ways, she succeeds: the play sheds light on the opportunities thrown open for working-class women by the union disputes of the Thatcher era, and neatly expresses Lorna's dismay at her granddaughter's disregard for those hard-won freedoms.

There are some laugh-out-loud moments (Sandy puts her mood down to 'horny-moans – because you never feel horny, and you're always moaning') and a quartet of warm, naturalistic performances. But Young's characters ultimately feel too much like a set of stereotypes, and her play never quite ignites.


Event phone: 020 7907 7092