TV Review: Unprecedented, Episode 4

Monica Dolan swearing and Ned Bennett directing Kathryn Hunter and Marcello Magni? Episode 4 of Unprecedented knocks it out of the park

“This is not like The Hunger Games”

After the bleakness of the third instalment, Episode 4 of Unprecedented reintroduces the note of variety that makes the enterprise work so well, with its collections of short plays responding to the ways in which society has had to change in response to lockdown and pandemicorama.

Deborah Bruce’s Kat and Zaccy looks at how children of divorced households have had to make huge decisions about who to hunker down with, and the consequences of those decisions. Monica Dolan and Alex Lawther play the fractious mother/son relationship perfectly as she shamelessly emotionally manipulates the situation as best to her advantage as she can.

Matilda Ibini’s triumphant The Unexpected Expert, directed by Debbie Hannan, centres on the government’s duty of care for its disabled citizens, something that doesn’t change even as resources to meet it ostensibly becomes more scarce. Ibini’s is a frank voice that we could usefully hear more of and she articulates the criminality of bureaucratic attitudes and practices perfectly.  

And the artistic highlight of Unprecedented so far, Josh Azouz’s The Night After which features the inspired combination of director Ned Bennett and actors Kathryn Hunter and Marcello Magni. The vibe is almost Roald Dahl-esque in its simultaneous shadowy weirdness and emotional forthrightness – these are the grandparents you never knew you wished you had. 

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