Grey Skies Review
Saving the best for last, Grey Skies was hands-down one the best SUDS performance this term. An original play written and directed by Gabriel Owen — who is no stranger to the SUDS scene — the story is set in North London and revolves around Danny (played by Andrew Crouch) an unemployed twenty-something-year old and his recently pregnant wife Lisa (played by Lizzie Parkinson), desperate for money to support the soon-to-arrive child.
In the first act Danny and his younger cousin Johnny (played by Will Walker) get pressured by the malefactor “best-pal” Sam, played by none other than, yep you guessed it, George Pundek, to commit a robbery at a drug dealer’s house not far from theirs. The mise-en-scene clocks back and forth from Sam’s flat and Danny’s, whose pregnant and all too trusting wife gets unexpected visits from her sister Shauna (played by SUDS President Anna Mould), a teacher who decided to take a couple of years out to travel the world and the voice of reason throughout the entire play, particularly towards her delusional sister that has agreed to stay home with Danny even after she finds out what he’s helped Sam do, God Sam!
After the robbery has been completed, news arrives that Johnny has been locked up for selling stolen cigarettes (another one of Sam’s ingenious business ventures) and, during a gossip-sesh between Shauna and Lisa, we discover that the robbery (done with Margaret Thatcher masks) was of thirty-thousand pounds and not just twelve, driving Danny mad and delivering Sam to the cops for not having split the cash equally.
With very few props to help the ambience, e.g. a couple of beers, two small sofas on both sides of the stage to distinguish Sam’s house from Danny’s, chairs, a small table and a computer, the acting was what really made the play spectacular. Simple tropes such as the struggling young couple (Danny and Lisa), the pressured and stressed-out kid who is the first in his generation to go to Uni (Johnny), the reasonable but unlucky-in-love loving sister (Shauna) and the bad influence necessary to have a challenging a story (Sam), make it all the better.
The final act leaves us on a cliffhanger: Danny and Sam get into a fight over the money, Johnny, and the cops; in an effort to break it up Lisa gets pushed over, possibly losing her baby. The lighting and the music was spot-on, particularly the usage of Sister Nancy “Bam Bam” to set the stereotypical chavvy North London vibe, to which each and every character adhered to — from the accents to the body movements — to the T.