Spine, Theatre Review. Playhouse Studio, Liverpool.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * * *

Cast: Rosie Wyatt.

It is the mantra of the age, everything has its price and everything is for sale. This diabolical hymn somehow has managed to include the voice of the angry teenager and the most ingenious of weapons, the written word, it somehow had diminished both to the same level of inconsequence, of being nothing more than the leftover in the three for a fiver bin or the silenced dream of the less than irritated willing to put on a tie and a suit and become a nodding dog filled with false outrage.

The generation that won the war against Fascism has somehow allowed the 21st Century bloomers and infuriated to become too calm, too compliant, or worse, willing to be drawn to the same ideals that was defeated in the darkest days of the continent’s history. The Spine seems to have gone, the ability to move a person’s soul just by reading to them, knowing them, investing heavily into their life, it is the same with the novel, the fantastic tales that are rich in deed, now people demand that literature be cheap, disposable, throw away and it something that thankfully can be rectified as Clara Bennan’s Spine forces home.

In amongst a set that bibliophiles would covet, the strange and alluring prospect of crates of books piled high, all outward turned so the spine, the first enticement can be seen and accepted, Rosie Wyatt performs arguably the finest monologue by anybody upon the stage in Liverpool this year.

The life of one girl, Amy, who is on the verge of womanhood but also social damnation, as she weaves her tale of outcast misery, fights and theft to the redemption of finding solace in the last days of an old woman she befriends and comes to admire. It is so well captured by Rosie Wyatt that at one point it is possible to feel the tears running silently down your cheeks, no sobbing, no gnashing of teeth, just silent anger that the lack of fury in some of the young is not more tangible, that their words when used in the positivity of articulate negotiation is drowned out by the curse of words such as economy, privilege and market forces. It in that tear, the silent submarine like one that trickles down your face without setting off any radar, that Rosie Wyatt succeeds in capturing your soul.

Spine is an hour of theatre that you will want to spend again and again, that makes you realise and cheer the fact the greatest weapons we have at our disposal are books and teenagers with something to say, a sheer magnificent play and performance.

Ian D. Hall