Review: Pack, Finborough Theatre

“The cards you’re holding? You need to establish what they’re worth”

The Papatango New Writing Festival came up with an absolute cracker in Dawn King’s Foxfinder which sold out the Finborough last winter, so it is fair to say that expectations for this year’s winner – Louise Monaghan’s Pack – are fairly high. It is an entirely different beast though and one which seems eerily well-timed as the events around the recent Rotherham by-election played out, as this is an unflinchingly raw take on racism in a different part of Yorkshire and how it has permeated our society in ways which don’t always readily manifest themselves.

Monaghan’s framing device is a bridge class at a community centre which brings working class mothers Stephie and Deb under the tutelage of Dianna, a maths teacher at the nearby high school, and they are joined by local GP Nasreen to make up the quartet. They’re a diverse group and throughout the smattering of techniques that we see them learn for this card game, the real interest comes in the tentative common ground that they find in the snippets of conversation inbetween. They discuss the husbands that they tolerate, the ageing parents that they care for, the children that they are trying to nurture, but against the febrile atmosphere of a looming British National Party rally, their lives become inextricably entangled with each other. Continue reading “Review: Pack, Finborough Theatre”