Theatre: Mucky Kid

Mae is a difficult person to like – she has a laugh that’s just a bit too loud and an uneasy, flitting energy. It feels as though she’s a rubber band poised to snap. Who knows what will happen when she does? Maybe she’ll kill a child. After all, she has before.

Sam Potter’s debut play is a skilfully constructed psychological thriller in which we’re asked to unpick the mixed-up memories of Mae’s past and decide whether children who kill children can, as adults, be rehabilitated and even forgiven. Is the grown-up we become ever truly free of the child we once were? Through ever-changing versions of a few scenes – charting Mae’s escape from prison and subsequent recapture – we find out.

It’s rare to see a piece of theatre that has such a tight and original structure; one that is ideally suited to a one-act play. Sharply directed by James Farrell and with strong support from the rest of the cast, it’s refreshingly even-handed in its approach. With a compelling performance from Sonya Cassidy as Mae – who shifts from naive teenager to sinister hate figure with disconcerting ease – it builds the tension in a way that is really quite thrilling but, as with real life, offers no easy answers.

Written for The Stage

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