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The Periodicals | Dorfman Theatre (Connections Festival)

In The Periodicals, written by Siân Owen and directed by Jo Crook, a group of runaway children all named after chemical elements fight to build a new life for themselves in a rubbish dump and to escape the clutches of evil Education Secretary Maude Hatchett (Eloise Trevor).

The Periodicals is presented as part of the National Theatre’s Connections Festival, a series of new plays by leading playwrights, developed through workshops with young people and giving these young companies the opportunity to perform the finished work.

Despite only being presented for one night at the Dorfman Theatre, significant work has gone into creating and immersing the audience in the dystopian setting of the piece. The set is made up of a series of trolleys covered in rubbish, which can move around the stage in order to change the setting. Lighting from Robin Mumford and sound from Thomas Walters also contribute to creating an eerie and dangerous atmosphere.

The company, comprised of students from Plympton Academy, are universally excellent, with a particularly excellent performance from Eloise Trevor as the villainous Maude Hatchett. Hatchett initially appears only as a lipsticked mouth projected onto a sheet, explaining the government’s new truancy laws and immediately setting the scene for the piece.

As the play unfolds, Evian (Ethan Wain) arrives in the so-called Ghost Children’s camp and is given a two-day initiation period to life with them by leader Mercury (Josh Wallace). Slowly he learns what has led them to the fringes of society, from Lithium’s (Matthew Chapman) struggles with outbursts of temper, to Magnesium’s (Imogen Shaw) fear of pretty much everything. As it builds to its inevitable climax, The Periodicals encourages its audience to think about those who do not ‘fit in’ and the ways in which society itself does not fit them. 

Urgent and thought-provoking, The Periodicals deserves a future life beyond the Connections Festival, and members of its young company are sure to be seen again on stages up and down the country.

Connections Festival runs at the National Theatre until Saturday 29th June. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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