Sexual depravity in Norfolk: Imaginationship @Finborough
Mum’s a nymphomaniac. The daughter’s learning Greek at night school. There’s a Hungarian with an erection problem and a tired old Lesbian who wants to live the quiet life in a bungalow. It could be anywhere but it’s what goes down for fun in Great Yarmouth. Apparently.
The piece by Sue Healy is having a short run at the Finborough Theatre. It was first seen as part of the Vibrant 2017 festival as a staged reading. Now in its full form, the town that voted overwhelmingly for Brexit seems like a cesspit of debauchery. Never mind the migrants taking jobs, it’s the migrants with the big nobs you need to watch out for. As a piece of post-Brexit theatre you leave the theatre knowing even less about Great Yarmouth than you did going in.
If you didn’t read the programme notes or wasn’t familiar with the area already, you’d be none the wiser about the place and its history. This includes that it was a seaside resort and fishing port. It also services the North Shore oil rig industry.
Most of the characters meet a gruesome end in a mass shooting that serves as an unlikely piece of plotting. UK gun control laws make this sort of event unlikely. There are two men guys who open and close the piece cleaning up the mess (played by Atilla Akinci and John Sackville). They seemed like the only real people in this piece.
There’s probably something here attempting to describe how the country has lost its way. Maybe even forgetting how to behave either among your community or among nations. But this is not the piece that will explain Brexit and the state of the country today. On the other hand as Brexit will define what the essence of this country for decades to come there’s plenty of time that play to be written.
Directed by Tricia Thorns, Imaginationship concludes on 23 January at the Finborough Theatre.
Photos by Phil Gammon