Yen – review

In 2013, Yen won the prestigious Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting and premiered at Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre before transferring to the Royal Court.

Yen is fierce and disturbing. Anna Jordan is the kind of writer who climbs right inside her characters’ heads, roots around for all their darkness and spits it out onto the page with humanity and humour.

I first came across Anna Jordan in the launch issue of Bare Fiction Magazine. Her short play Closer to God was so affecting and beautifully written, I immediately declared her the next big thing. I wish I’d put money on it; within weeks, she’d won the Bruntwood Prize – one of the most coveted awards in the world of playwriting.

Yen is the story of two teenage brothers and their dog. Wearing jeans and sharing a t-shirt, we watch them struggle against the tough life they lead. The story takes place almost exclusively in one room with a sofa bed, a TV, games console and an electric fire. This claustrophobic setting is cunningly fractured by the soundscape, banks of imposing lights, ropes and scaffolding which work together to give a vast kind of energy to the action. The play crackles along, rubbing on your nerves and turning your stomach. In a good way.

Yen is a massive tale of love and redemption told in ordinary, heart-breaking details. If you can fight someone to get their ticket, then I suggest you do. (Or if you don’t like fighting, a returns queue runs from 1 hour before the performance.)

Yen is at the Royal Court till 13 February. More info.

© Sarah Hehir 2016. 

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About 17Percent

A campaign to get more plays by women playwrights onto UK stages.
This entry was posted in plays by female writers, Review, Women playwrights, women writers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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