"Grotesque, hilarious, bawdy, vile, fun"
by remotegoat reviewer on 06/04/13

'There's nothing wrong with flies! They're like nature's raisons.' - This being just one amongst hundreds of freegan quips in Tom Hunt's Trash, a play featuring an assembly of students who've made the pledge to gobble what others see as garbage. From start to finish the White Bear Theatre is laden with bin bags, piled to the ceiling. Constantly surrounded by rubbish are a bunch of students. Their relationships, characters, vile actions and often bawdy senses of humour creating the comedic value in the play.

The plot is very simple. The students have a new housemate arriving soon and the place needs to be spick and span. All freegan habits need to be hidden. Though the storyline features few twists and turns in Trash, it works well, and provides a fitting foundation for the exploration of character and the subject of freeganism within the play. Most importantly, it allows for time to be spent in scenes at the bins foraging for food and in character building scenes at the student house. Sucking the residue off of old tooth brushes and peeing on plants, this is where the freegans prove to be at their most grotesque best.

Often gathered around in their grotty little living quarters, the characters are a likeable bunch. They're like a freegan family with a weird concoction of accents. To open the play, Craig Deuchar as Liam, James Stirling-Gillies as Curly Tom, Joseph Stevenson as Little Tom and AJ MacGillivray as Craig are a strong quartet. In his parts, Paddy Cooper's characters Neil and Nigel provide a comic contrast with the students, once as an RP speaking BBC reporter and secondly as a landlord who's easy to fleece. Trash has a diverse group of characters and everyone has their part to play in a dynamic social arrangement.

Other characters worth mentioning include Sophie Wardlow as Vikki. Vikki emerges from the rubbish almost creature like in one of her scenes. Her northern drawl, short mannerisms and more extreme character certainly provides a different element of humour to the play. Henry Allan's Gabriel, also grows in stature as the play goes on. His obsession with Marxism is a subtle reminder about some of the more serious aspects of freeganism and their anti-consumerism ideals.

In a small theatre, Trash becomes an intimate comic experience. At times it feels like the action is about to spill out into the audience. Plaudits go to the Director and Stage Manager for stage positioning on several occasions, particularly in the final dinner scene and when Jamnastic are playing music. Though the romance/kissing/relationship scenes between Little Tom and Julia (Holly Ashman) are unnecessary and some of the script could run a little smoother, Tom Hunt's debut is a success and shows lots of promise. Trash brings fun and laughter to an audience of any age group.

Robert Preece

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