Process Bunker Theatre

‘Bold & striking’: THE PROCESS – Bunker Theatre

In London theatre, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Ian FosterLeave a Comment

Bunker Theatre, London – until 1 February 2020

You can’t say they didn’t warn you. Captions like “no-one will understand everything” and “no two people can have the same experience” flash up on the wall before The Process starts – “that is how it is meant to be” we’re gently but insistently told. For this is a story told in both BSL and spoken English, with overlaps and gaps deliberately built in, probing at our need to understand everything, exemplifying that for some, that is an unimaginable luxury.

Sarah Bedi’s play posits a near-dystopia (ie sometime soon after 31 January…!) where notions of personal economic cost have become a major driver in a political system where the power of the state is becoming monolithic. Jo Kay, a Deaf entrepreneur, has developed the app which is being used to measure people’s contributions and costs to society but though she is ostensibly being celebrated as part of the establishment, she soon sees her tool weaponised against her.

Elements of The Process have a horribly chilling ring to them. The idea that society can so easily turn its back on those labelled ‘different’ is unquestionably true, but as the definition of ‘different’ is stretched, from the homeless to anyone who is perceived a drain on the state – ie the disabled – that thin end of the wedge slaps us in the face. So too some of the smaller details – D/deaf experiences in court, institutional inflexibility, even the short fuse of so many hearing people trying to communicate with the D/deaf… – all ring true.

Bedi’s ambition does cast its scope a little too wide at times, with some of its dramatic flexes coming to little fruition – there’s a lot packed in here for an hour and a half. But I loved the uncompromising way it dealt with its bilingualism, that sense of not quite catching everything so familiar to my daily life and the thought that most of the audience would be feeling the same for once gave me a little chuckle. Jean St Clair’s Jo leads the cast with a powerful performance that can’t quite believe the way things around her crumble away so quickly, and Catherine Bailey and William Grint both make for compelling stage presences in their various roles. The Process proves bold and striking, if a little flawed – we could all wish to be considered thus.

 

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Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."
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Ian Foster on FacebookIan Foster on RssIan Foster on Twitter
Ian Foster
Since 2003, Ian Foster has been writing reviews of plays, sometimes with a critical element, on his blog Ought to Be Clowns, which has been listed as one of the UK's Top Ten Theatre Blogs by Lastminute.com, Vuelio and Superbreak. He averages more than 350+ shows a year. He says: "Call me a reviewer, a critic or a blogger, and you will apparently put someone or other's nose out of joint! So take it or leave it, essentially this is my theatrical diary, recording everything I go to see at the theatre in London and beyond, and venturing a little into the worlds of music and film/TV where theatrical connections can be made."

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