Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Child Z - new play by Sarah Hehir

He said: You're my diamond Zoe. And I believed him
Child Z by Sarah Hehir
Poster and book design by Sam Fentiman-Hall

Child Z is a cracking new play written and performed with passion. It's inspiration came from an interview with one of the survivors of the Rochdale child grooming scandal on Woman's Hour. This play puts her story and her voice at the center of attention, but also illustrates the cultural and economic forces at work around her during that time.

The characters are all fully rounded, though their choices and the impact are shown we also get an insight into why they act the way they do. The chief executive carries on a conversation with his dead, and it is implied, neglectful father. The  teenage crisis worker implies a past lived in the shadow of an abusive parent, and a parallel story of bullying at school brings out another layer of depth.

Structurally, the play is very interesting with three actors playing all of the roles that you see, interactive with off screen voices and characters who aren't even physically there. This widened out the storyline and places the story and characters into a wider context, emotionally and physically.

The tone of the play is well balanced, and what could have been an unremittingly grim piece is interspersed and balanced with humour and hope.

Sarah Hehir's Child Z will be performed again at Southwark playhouse on Sunday, 21 and Sunday 28 June