Daisy King presents NoF*cksGiven as part of the Who Runs The World festival at the King's Head Theatre. Cindy Marcolina examines the potential in this vulnerable piece of a life gone wrong.

King’s Head Theatre continues its Who Runs The World? season with NoF*cksGiven. Daisy King pens a vulnerable piece that sees Stacy grappling with the pain of living a life gone wrong. She hides her homelessness by lying about having problems with her pipes at home, she celebrates addiction, and embraces the chaos of her world by disguising her scars.

King pens a cheeky script that relies on irony to mask its most distressing implications. It has the tendency, however, to digress and wander at times, almost forgetting its substantial trajectory. King unravels Stacy bit by bit and lets her audience put her backstory together on their own. Yet her character, albeit affecting, is confined by its own bounds: there’s no rationalisation of her actions, although the playwright does draw on crucial issues in society and paints a vivid picture of the inevitability of life. She waltzes swiftly and easily through sexual and domestic abuse, addiction, homelessness, and mental health, subjects that might need to be explored more.

The three actors (Phoebe Thomas, Velile Tshabalala & Gaz Hayden) juggle the poignancy of the matter with ease but lean towards overacting too many times for this to be overlooked. King tries to experiment with form by having Stacy’s inner monologue halting the narrative altogether – the actors freeze and the audience move inside the young woman’s mind.

Although NoF*cksGiven is written with a lot of heart, it feels unfinished. The crowd hesitates to clap when the lights blackout abruptly as we’re left with too much material in the air. The play scrapes the top of the tale it tells, presenting characters that seem too afraid to jump into the darkened abyss. The topics themselves instil a sense of uneasiness but aren’t examined in depth – King takes a morsel out of everything but leaves it uneaten. The characters are interesting enough for us to want to know more, which is imperative, but they’re almost embryonic in their current shape.

NoF*cksGiven shows a lot of potential, and a full-length version of it can most definitely be a game-changing piece of theatre.

 

 

★★★☆☆

NoF*cksGiven runs at the King’s Head Theatre until 12 May 2018 as part of the Who Runs The World festival. For further information, please visit the venue website.