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Jim Cartwright’s Raz at Trafalgar Studios London – Review

RAZJim Cartwright’s Raz is simplistic; the stage is empty and all the various environments and props are created by the actor who happens to be Jim’s actor son, James.

The play is set in a town in northern England and is about Shane, a 30-year-old man who works as a van haulage driver and still lives at home with his parents. It’s Friday, he’s been paid and he’s looking forward to “living it large” with a perfectly orchestrated evening of booze, drugs and girls.

We first meet Shane, dressed in his Superman boxers, enjoying a “9 minute blaster” session on a sunbed at his local salon. He then goes home where he continues to get ready whilst enjoying a pre-club drink or two “no lad goes on a night out sober!” He also receives phone calls from his mates giving him orders for “stuff” before he contacts a couple of girls in his “aviary”. He also speaks about a former girlfriend in a very dismissive, yet vulnerable, way and it becomes apparent when he encounters her in a club later that evening that she still means a lot to him.

Jim Cartwright’s rhythmic, sparky script vividly describes events as the lads travel in a cab with a know all Welsh taxi driver, before going from pub to pub to club whilst partaking in drinking, dancing, karaoke, a bit of stand up and fighting.

James Cartwright plays Shane extremely well, with a flawless delivery of lines and some excellent mimicry and mime as he brings the character to life.

Joshua Carr’s lighting, Ben & Max Ringhams’ sound, together with Anthony Banks’ simplistic direction allow James’ performance to bring out the best of Jim’s writing.

Raz has transferred to London following its success at Edinburgh where it won a Fringe First. It is quite simply a fun, clever, well written and brilliantly performed piece.

4 stars

Review by Karen Pond

Friday night, first thing, the tanning shop, a good nine-minute blaster!
Meet Shane, one of the low-paid generation that lives for the weekend while still living at home with his parents.

Come on the raz as he hits the town for all it’s worth – tanned, buffed and blowing his wage packet on a perfectly orchestrated evening of drinks, drugs, and girls: a weekend millionaire.

Tonight he’s in charge, living it large. On Monday, it’s back to the grind and he starts all over again.

Jim Cartwright’s Fringe First award-winning rollercoaster of a night out in modern Britain transfers to London for four weeks only.
Directed by Anthony Banks (former Associate Director at the National Theatre)
Starring James Cartwright (History Boys and A Plan at National Theatre; Winner of Best Actor – Royal Television Society Awards for Johnny Shakespeare)

Running Time: 55 mins (no interval)
Trafalgar Studios 2, 22 March to 16 April 2016

Cast & Creatives
Shane – James Cartwright
Writer – Jim Cartwright
Director – Anthony Banks
Lighting Designer – Joshua Carr
Sound Design and Composition – Ben & Max Ringham
Associate Sound Designer – Sarah Weltman

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