The Nobodies review – an old-fashioned heist movie turned play

w ^riter Amy Guyler has deftly constructed an intricate play about three working-class friends, the self-named Nobodies, who scheme to save a local hospital – and almost accidentally incite a revolution. It’s essentially an old-fashioned heist movie (turned play) with a political edge, set in a northern town still overshadowed by the mining strikes. The story is strong but the real joy of Chalk Line Theatre’s production is in the storytelling – bold, engaging and conducted with energy and commitment.

Directors Sam Edmunds and Vikesh Godhwani, along with designer Becca White and lighting designer Alan Walden, skilfully conjure up vivid scenes with just a few quick strokes. An ominous-feeling train station emerges from thin air with some carefully placed planks of wood, a strip of yellow tape and spotlights blasted directly into the audience’s startled eyes. An angry riot rises up in a blur of warped masks, red-hued lighting and stamping feet. Dance features heavily throughout – sometimes creating a sense of triumph and togetherness and, as the movement turns ugly, conjuring up a total loss of control.

Joseph Reed is electric as the ringleader and once-homeless Curtis – a man who burns with the energy of someone with nothing to lose. David Angland is vulnerable but not saccharine as Aaron, whose mother is dying of cancer, and Lucy Simpson never plays it too straight as trainee nurse and moral anchor Rhea. The three are particularly good, utterly themselves and original, in the show’s more surreal and comic moments. It’s just a shame the plot begins to strain in the final third. Attempts to tie things up, and deliver a message about power breeding corruption, flatten out an otherwise a surprising and eye-catching show.