Anyone who has rented apartments and lived in flatshares will instantly find something in common with Cate and Gia, a pair of 20-somethings living in London. It’s Christmas 2016 and neither has a lot of money or time to spare – typical of a generation trying to find stable housing while working zero-hours contracts. The show, written by Eliza Gearty, focuses on the stress of debt and the difficulty of living in big cities – as the two protagonists find themselves at the mercy of a pervert landlord who installs CCTV in their property.
Gearty’s script is well structured and tight; the dialogue feels natural, flowing continuously between the girls and their slightly eccentric friend Pen, and keeping the storyline moving fast. The humour is top notch – Gia’s line “It’s not even real snow… it’s British! It’s not even white!” certainly hit home with me. It also brings in a nice angle of immigrants trying to make a life for themselves in London.
The relationship between the two girls – their shared dreams, their squabbles, their leg-pulling, and their frustration with their landlord Racken (a play on Kraken?) is very realistic. The set is excellent, suited to the small space: the use of a clothes horse as a screen for the girls’ costume changes is especially well executed.
There were a couple of things that left a bit to be desired. Gia has a few scenes in which she’s tipsy and laughing, but the laughter came across as fake and rather shrill. Movement on and off the stage wasn’t smooth and I could clearly see actors backstage. And finally, I’m sure this was a one-off, but I really wished the tech crew wouldn’t keep whispering to each other.
Even so, this is a well-made and well-played show about the truth of terrible landlords. Although I can’t tell you how the Racken storyline culminates, I can promise you will not be disappointed. Watch it with your flatmate, or your best friend!