Chance at Durham Fringe

Play about a kid struggling with poverty and his escape to the moors above his deprived town. The play is nominally set in County Durham, and the actors had local accents, but there's nothing particular to this part of the country in the plot. Sam and I wondered, afterwards, whether the play tours the country with different local casts: a lad escaping to the Peak District in deprived Yorkshire, a lad escaping to Dartmoor in deprived Devon.

You get the sense that Yolan Noszkay, the author, has had some poor experience with social welfare efforts, though: they paint mental health and social services as more interested in checking boxes than in actually helping people. While I think that shoestring budgets have necessarily reduced the mental and emotional bandwidth of social workers, those people wouldn't be doing what they do if they didn't care.

Still, the picture that the play paints of poverty in this country is total and crushing. People are being let down day in and day out.

“When you’re outa luck in this man’s country, you certainly are outa luck,” said Mac and for some reason they both laughed.

U.S.A. by John dos Passos

Seen at Durham Fringe Festival.

Durham Fringe Theatre


Weeknotes 24 July

Living exhausted in the shadow of the Castle Howard triathlon.


The Passenger