Mouthpieceback to latest news
Following a sold out, critically-acclaimed run at the Traverse Theatre in 2018, Fringe First winner Kieran Hurley brings Mouthpiece to Soho. The production, directed by former Traverse Artistic Director Orla O’Loughlin, sees Neve McIntosh (Doctor Who, BBC; The Replacement, BBC) and Lorn Macdonald (Outlander, Starz!; Trainspotting, Citizen’s Theatre) reprise their roles. A frank, funny and unflinching look at the polarities of social inequality in a city, Mouthpiece asks when does the portrayal of poverty become poverty porn?
A woman takes a step forward into the air. A teenage boy pulls her back. Libby whiles away her days in New Town cafes and still calls herself a writer. Declan is a talented young artist struggling with a volatile home. As they form an uneasy friendship, complicated by class and culture, Libby spots an opportunity to put herself back on track and really make a difference, but she needs Declan’s story in all its messy, painful detail.
Through Declan and Libby’s stories, Hurley (Heads Up, UK tour; Square Go, Plaines Plough Roundabout Theatre) considers the lines that can be easily crossed when we represent untold stories and how well-intentioned artists appropriate the histories of their muses. Mouthpiece questions what it means to write an ending for someone’s story when they have yet to live it. This self-reflexive production tackles urgent debates about accessibility and representation in the arts, the role of privilege and class inequality and the right to tell stories.
Writer Kieran Hurley comments, The inspiration for Mouthpiece was a growing frustration and anger at how we, in the arts, exclude certain voices and experiences. I heard a (possibly untrue) story about a successful writer being interrupted at a Q&A by someone from their past, and it got me thinking about who we allow to speak, about consent, and about the violence of being reliant on someone else to tell your story for you. The economic divide and sort of class apartheid in the play exists everywhere in our society and has been entrenched ever more deeply by a decade of austerity. It’s as relevant to London as it is to Edinburgh.
A play for our times about class, poverty and the point of theatre itself (★★★★★ The Stage)
Kieran Hurley’s award-winning play, Beats, which came to Soho Theatre in 2013, has been adapted by Rosetta Productions and will close the Glasgow Film Festival in March 2019.
Mouthpiece will run at Soho Theatre from Tuesday 2 April until Saturday 4 May.