Theatre review: The Dark Room at the New Diorama Theatre

10:58 17 April 2012

A scene from The Dark Room at the New Diorama. Picture: Richard Davenport

A scene from The Dark Room at the New Diorama. Picture: Richard Davenport

Richard Davenport

David Bryne’s play takes Brecht and Lindsay Lohan teen movie Mean Girls as its inspirations

If you need reminding school was no fun, look no further than David Bryne’s Brechtian-inspired take on Mean Girls.

When making friends proves a non-starter for newbie Ruth (Madeleine MacMahon) she bullies and blackmails her way to head girl status, infiltrating the school rag, the tuckbox takings and the most popular girl’s Facebook page. Ah, to have access to the school server.

Each member of the cast encapsulates a school stereotype - prom queen, thug, do-gooder, gossip - and there are stand-out performances from the salacious editor of The Crow and gurner extraordinaire, Ethel (Leah Milner), and muesli-crunching supply teacher, June (Natalie York).

Whilst Byrne’s script is sharp, his witty staging sets this 60 minute production apart: blackboards on castors swirl around the stage, the school server has a voice of its own and the classic Brechtian devices of direct audience address and garnering sympathy for an odious protagonist are put to great effect.

Unfortunately we never find out why Ruth is such a mean girl and the influence of social media upon teenage classroom politics is only fleetingly explored.

Nonetheless, The Dark Room is a promising, funny and dynamic in-house debut. Well worth a look.

* The Dark Room is at the New Diorama Theatre, Triton Street, NW1, until April 28.

Latest Stories

Yesterday, 14:16
The twins, who spend most of their day latched onto dad, have been named Winnie and Piglet by zookeepers ahead of this weekend’s Winnie the bear celebration at the Little Creatures family festival.

These two new arrivals, born just in time for a weekend celebrating the bear who inspired Winnie the Pooh, have been given some very apt names.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:14
Police were called to the house of Sam Taylor Wood, seen here with husband Aaron Taylor Johnson at the European premiere of 'Godzilla' in Leicester Square in May, after the machine gun was spotted through a window  (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Sam Taylor-Johnson got a visit from the firearms squad last night after a spotter-by noticed a machine gun in her house and called the police.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:01
Firearms officers arrested the suspect

Members of the public helped to thwart an attempted armed robbery in Whitechapel yesterday.

Read more

Top Stories

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

Quizzes

Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more
Can you find the animals hiding in London station names? (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

You may not realise it but there are animals hiding in stations across London? Play our quiz and see if you can you find them:

Read more