Saturday Night and Sunday Morning meets Take Me Out in a one-man tour through a drink-and-drug-fuelled Northern night out. Written by Jim Cartwright and starring his son James, it takes a core drill to the life of young British adulthood and brings out a sample of the scenarios played out on our high streets every weekend.
We first meet Shane (James Cartwright) grilling himself on a sunbed, in preparation of what’s to come. Still living at home with his parents – there’s an undercurrent of generational warfare which is briefly referenced but could usefully be brought out more – we see him grooming, flicking through what once would have been called his little black book, scoring drugs for his mates, oblivious to anything but the few hours that lie ahead.
Ambient noise and razor sharp switches of lighting cleverly mark changes of location, as our protagonist prowls from cab to pub to bar to club. Background chatter changes with the tempo of the night, as does the music, and, with it, the onstage vibe. Cartwright remains constantly on the ball with these shifts in tone, steering the piece along with accomplishment. Character changes are thrown in for good measure. His Welsh cabbie is great, his gaggle of girls not so distinguishable from each other, but nevertheless convincing. There’s quite often a poetic lilt to the script which helps it all swing along.
It’s frequently funny, though not nearly so much as this afternoon’s audience seem to think. Ordinary chat is met with self-conscious sniggers, as if the subject matter is so alien, they can’t tell where the jokes begin. But that’s off stage. On it, Raz only lacks the killer ending that would really set the seal on the piece, but Cartwright gives a vivid performance of his father’s expertly observed Northern lad.