Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Removed and Destroyed @ King's Arms, Salford, 22.05.14

Removed and Destroyed by writer Matthew Gabrielli follows the troubles of a young and successful man Ted (played by Kevin Dewsbury) whose briefcase goes missing. When he seeks the assistance of the authorities to recover it he becomes tethered in a dystopian dilemma, a world where you’re guilty because you’ve been arrested and you’ve been arrested because you’re guilty. This authoritarian theme puts it in sync with a lot of other future worlds that we are all familiar with through books, television and film, and so the question here is this: what does Removed and Destroyed add to the picture?

The premise in this case is that the reduction in freedoms following the terrorism scares of the early 2000s are taken to an extreme. The police, played here by David Garrett and Ethan Holmes, will use any form of abuse to get what they want, while minor discretions from the young man’s past are spat back at him with a tainted twist. The problem is that I found the story too unbelievable to engage with. There were subplots that felt tacked on, like one of the policemen turning out to have a hidden heart of gold, and a swear jar that was too gimmicky to make any political point. Further, it is very difficult to act out violence in such a small space like the King’s Arms, as pretend violence often looks playground-esque when it is only a few feet away. While I agreed with much of the political proselytising, which was well-worded, it felt just like that – preaching, rather than actual dialogue. In terms of direction I found some of the choices, like the swear jar and the violence, complicated rather than corralled the play’s elements. The acting itself was fine, especially given the difficult job of portraying the physical elements in an intimate venue.

To answer my original question, while Removed and Destroyed makes some valid points, and was entertaining enough, it does not offer enough fresh insight to justify going over these subjects again.

Words: Andrew Anderson

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