#BrumHour saw We need to talk about Bobby (Off EastEnders) with thanks to The Old Joint Stock
For Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre I spoke to production team of We need to talk about Bobby (Off EastEnders) here:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This play contains scenes of a sexual nature and discussion of sexual abuse.
We need to talk about Bobby (Off EastEnders) at The Old Joint Stock
Written by George Attwell-Gerhards Directed by Lucy Bird
Annie (Laura Adebisi) is twelve and a child actress, soon to be a teenage actress, she’s hearing those in charge of casting tv dramas, that she’s not “cute” enough to play kids anymore, she starts to audition for more roles suited to young teenagers, or so she thinks.
After being cast in a drama her mum (Cara Mahoney) and dad (Tom Bulpett) tell her that her ongoing role is about to get more serious very quickly. The drama she is in want to portray her as being held in the basement of her father’s house and indicate she is sexually abused to the point of rape.
As her chaperone, Annie’s dad is struggling with the content, Annie’s makeup artist (also played by (Cara Mahoney) has noticed behavioural changes, and the actor playing the father in the drama (also Tom Bulpett) has found Annie has struggled with the storyline.
This is a very powerful sixty minutes watching a young girl change from an aspirational young actress into someone who slightly damaged by her experience. Laura Adebisi looked right at me as she delivered Annie’s example script. I tried not to move and tried to remember to breathe.
Given the title of Paperback Theatre’s latest production, you’d be forgiven for thinking this had anything to do with EastEnders or even the character of Bobby Beale, but really it is a demonstration of the pressures young actors can face to fulfil an audience’s thirst for thought provoking drama and realism.
Once more we are in the black rectangle box of the Old Joint Stock with the audience on three sides, which gives you the chance to see the actors really close up and feel the audience almost breathing. The set is a rug, an Ikea sofa plus tall lamp and a small television set, there’s also a high makeup chair.
The lighting and sound cues here really help shift the cuts in scene as we jump from Annie’s home to a hotel, to the set of the drama to the makeup chair.
There’s shades of humour in this strong drama, but it is difficult permit yourself to laugh as you feel like the story could take an awful turn at any second and leave you feeling exposed. This important production opens up wider thoughts and discussion on child protection, and trauma counselling for young actors and people in the spotlight, especially given the impact on those in reality shows and their dealings with fame and social media.
I’ve been looking forward to seeing this challenging drama for a few months and it didn’t disappoint.
We need to talk about Bobby (Off EastEnders) is at The Old Joint Stock until 11th April, tickets can be found here:oldjointstock.co.uk/whats-on/we-need-to-talk-about-bobby
This isn’t a sponsored post.
When not writing about theatre for BrumHour, or producing Interval Theatre for Brum Radio (Tuesdays 3pm) brumradio.com/intervaltheatre, Dave Massey can be found eating crisps and claiming to be at the gym. And tweeting about Birmingham for #BrumHour