theSpaceTriplex, Edinburgh – until 28 August 2021
Director Rebecca Morgan has brought the hard-hitting play Shook by Samuel Bailey to the Edinburgh Fringe for 2021. Three young men are facing the daunting reality of being fathers as their girlfriends are expecting babies. The three attend parenting classes run by Grace (Morgan) while they are doing time at Polmont HMYOI. Each of these young men has a back story that is not for the faint-hearted.
Cain (Kieran Begley) is the hot-headed angry young offender, who we learn had very little education and shows outward signs of feeling inadequate and uses crime as his claim to fame. We meet the “top dog” Ryan (Ryan Stoddart) whose presence within the institution oozes from his confident demeanour and this becomes evident through watching Cain’s response to him and who often backs down when he tells him to “shut up”.
William Dron gave an outstanding performance in the role of Jonjo. From his nervous mannerisms to stumbling and stuttering over his words. He never falters from character throughout the entire performance. The strength and conviction in his performance are extremely moving. However, the simmering anger beneath the surface is one to watch. I can only imagine how emotionally drained Dron must be afterwards.
Institutional grey tracksuits worn by the three offenders allow the audience to suspend their disbelief into believing that these young men are doing sentences for the horrendous crimes that come to light as the play unfolds.
The outstanding cast delivers a raw testosterone-fuelled performance. Prepare to be left feeling uncomfortable as the subjects raised will be emotionally challenging at times. We witness art imitating life at its best as we watch how real-life events can leave people in a state of “Shook”.