Suckers to stamp out violence

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'Suckers' by Carabas Theatre Company, Gregson Centre, Lancaster

A TOTAL of 200 was raised for the Lancashire Charity S.O.P.H.I.E. (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Ignorance Everywhere) during the two performances of the premiere of Lancaster writer MJ Wesolowski's play, 'Suckers'.

The charity was founded by the family and friends of Sophie Lancaster, the Goth girl from Bacup, who was senselessly murdered for being different in her lifestyle and the way she dressed.

Her campaigning mother, Sylvia Lancaster, recently featured in an ITV documentary about the rise in violent crime against young people.

Wesolowski's play features three dysfunctional Goths who share a flat.

They continually argue about things that late teenagers and young adults always fall out over: music, what to do this evening and other critical lifestyle choices. One is a role-playing game enthusiast – 'nuff said.

In a nearby flat dwell three vampires who, being quite different from each other, also manage to lead crazily-organised 'lives'.

No, don't put the paper down, their daily routines are finely described with some hilarious dialogue and some cracking one-liners.

Inevitably, through a bizarre chain of circumstances, they meet. With surprising consequences.

But I cannot give the plot away, as there are plans for the piece to be filmed later in the summer. There are also hopes that Suckers could be produced by BBC3.

Wesolowski has an acutely perceptive ear and eye for how people really interact with each other. Like Alan Bennett, he has a wry take on life that is at once generous and also has the ability to laugh at himself.

This is a rare quality for a writer so young.

There were some very strong and convincing performances from the seven actors. They shone both individually and in their committed ensemble playing. There wasn't a weak link in this performance, despite the difficult producing constraints of the venue.

It was also good that after each show, there was a chance for the audience to join in an open discussion with the author and his cast.

Many relevant and interesting issues were raised on both the evenings, especially so on the first night, when a young delegate from the S.O.P.H.I.E. charity was present and took part in the discussion.

So, congratulations to writer Weslowski, who also directed, to Carabas Theatre Company, and to everyone who contributed to the worthwhile cause of S.O.P.H.I.E.

Lancaster youngsters have once again shown that they have striking talent – and a generous heart too.